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This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: l’Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Laboratoire de mécanique des sols (LMS); MeduSoil; Biogeos; local authorities; construction firms
Project no: GRS-027/19
Amount of funding: CHF 130'000
Duration: 06.2019 - 03.2021
Area of activity:
InnoBooster, seit 2018
Dr. Dimitrios Terzis
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
EPFL ENAC IIC
Chemin du Cossy 8
1260 Nyon (Schweiz)
- dimitrios.terzis@epfl. ch
MeduSoil is a construction-tech spin-off of EPFL and develops a smart construction material which mineralizes carbon underground to produce strong, mineral binders which enable contractors build on solid foundations. The goal of the Innobooster project is to support MeduSoil in delivering real-life infrastructure repair works in collaboration with key industrial stakeholders and in performing all portions of the building process related to ground stabilization. Implementing ground stabilization works mitigates failures caused by environmental threats such as earthquakes, soil erosion and landslides. Ground stabilization represents a crucial challenge in all construction projects and a major market opportunity, worth CHF 28 Bn annually. It finds industrial applications in roads, railroads, airfields, embankments, reservoirs, canals and coastal engineering. Rapid urbanization, particularly in the developing regions, is fueling the ground stabilization market growth due to the scarcity of suitable land for development. At the same time, the need to perform such works is becoming even more urgent given recurring, extreme weather phenomena which cause extensive floods and soil erosion. In addition to this, rising sea levels threaten coastal zones and existing infrastructure, requiring ground erosion barriers. The role of ground stabilization is therefore critical when it comes to emergency response following natural hazards.
What is special about the project?
The industry of ground stabilization hasn’t been disrupted in decades and current solutions are complex, expensive, mainly due to heavy equipment required for application, and often hazardous to the environment because of the extensive use of industrial fluids. MeduSoil develops a new ground stabilization agent for use in subterranean works. The reagent combines a carbon source, typically in the form of soil fertilizers extensively used in agriculture, with calcium and soil microorganisms. Once on site, MeduSoil’s reagent is mixed with water to create a large volume of reactive solution that is ready for application within 24 hours. The solution is pumped into the ground under low pressure, spreads over a large area and sets within 4-8 days. The result of MeduSoil’s applications is a strong, rock-like material produced out of typical soil to serve as solid foundation and protect infrastructure against failures and environmental hazards.
MeduSoil tackles a double, fundamental challenge to the built & natural environment. On one hand, critical infrastructures face intensifying damages from natural hazards and extreme weather. Bridges, roads, railroads, dikes and coastal assets are particularly threatened. Without solid ground and stable foundations their structural integrity is at risk. On the other hand, rapid urbanization implies that suitable land for development becomes scarce. To support building projects, ground stabilization comes into play to ensure strong foundations. Current stabilization solutions based on cement and petrochemicals are found to pollute natural reserves and groundwater and requiring energy- intensive operations including vibrations and risk of heave and settlements. MeduSoil has developed a containerised, patented, technology to produce high-quality, environmentally friendly liquid solution, for minimally invasive soil injections. In 2019-2020, after targeted research and development at the Swiss Federal institute of Technology, Lausanne, the team of MeduSoil designed and produced a ready-to-deploy system for producing carbonate-rich liquid of known quality and stability, ready to mineralize. After injection into soils the solution precipitates strong carbonate links within few hours which improve drastically the properties of the ground. The containerised system feeds any mainstream pumping or injection system, while the liquid product is easy to pump and requires minimally intrusive operations, thus potential settlements or heave are avoided.
Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 27.04.2021