Turning Soil into Rocks

BIGALPS is an EIC Transition project with the primary objective of advancing bio-cementation technology to revolutionize soil stabilization practices. The project builds upon previous results obtained through Advanced-ERC grant- BIOGEOS and Proof-of-Concept (POC) ERC grant – CEBREWA developed at EPFL, Switzerland. With BIGALPS the technology goes European thanks to the international consortium.

Bio-cementation is an innovative nature-inspired soil improvement technique, based on the metabolic activity of microorganisms to produce calcium carbonate (CaCO3) that binds the soil particles together. This technique offers a sustainable, nonpolluting and cost-effective alternative to traditional soil improvement techniques which rely usually on introducing chemicals in soils.

The project has two main objectives:

Maturing the technology and using bio-cementation to solve real engineering problems related to current society needs, in an efficient way.

Achieving market uptake of bio-cementation as an alternative to traditional cement-based soil improvement techniques.

Demonstration of the technology in real environment

In particular, 3 pilot sites in France and Romania will demonstrate the diversity of problems that the technology can address, the way it adapts to meet specific and local and regional needs and further reveal the R&D- and business model-related challenges to scale it up and commercialize it. The technical milestones will be pursued with the goal of demonstrating the technology for 3 specific soil stability problems: erosion, landslides and foundation soil improvement.

The proposed activities aim to exercise in real-life situations the applications of the developed technology of bio-cementation. Hence, they will fall under the typical commercial processes and paths to simulate future transactions spanning from product acquisition and production establishment to project design, execution and quality control.

Pilot Project 1

Country of implementation: France

Focus: Erosion

Pilot Project 2

Country of implementation: Romania

Focus: Landslide

Pilot Project 3

Country of implementation: Romania      

Focus: Foundation Soil Improvement