Biomason to Develop Biocement Floor Tiles with Swedish Fashion Company
Biomason, the only company in the world using biology to produce cement, has scored a European partner to advance its environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cement.
The Research Triangle Park-based company will develop biocement floor tiles with one of the continent’s largest fashion houses, H&M Group, for use in its retail stores.
“This partnership solidifies Biomason’s position at the forefront of employing biology to solve global climate challenges in cement and concrete,” said Ginger Krieg Dosier, co-founder and chief executive officer of Biomason. “Our biocement technology is ushering in a new era of construction -- one that uses carbon as a building block rather than emitting it as a byproduct.”
The partnership is with H&M Group’s Circular Innovation Lab, which aims to accelerate the testing and use of more sustainable materials throughout the company’s business.
Biomason is working with H&M Group to develop a prototype of the floor tiles at Biomason’s headquarters and production facility in the Park. Once manufactured there, the finished tiles are expected to be installed in an H&M Group store in the United States or Europe in 2022, according to Biomason.
A step toward carbon neutrality
Concrete, used in much of the world’s built environment, has a high climate impact. Production of cement, the binding ingredient in concrete, accounts for over 8% of carbon emissions worldwide, more than the entire global transportation industry combined, according to Biomason.
“Until now, we have only been able to reduce emissions caused by these materials by using less of them. That is simply not enough,” said Martin Ekenbark, project manager at H&M Group’s Circular Innovation Lab. “Biomason’s technology can provide a crucial component to achieving carbon neutrality in our built environments, from stores to offices to production facilities.”
Since its founding in 2012, Biomason has used microorganisms to grow sustainable, structural biocement, providing a planet-friendly alternative to traditional cement, which requires high energy to bake in a kiln.
Biomason’s process, inspired by nature’s production of coral, uses harmless bacteria to create calcium carbonate that stitches together grains of aggregate or sand at ambient temperatures. No kiln is required, so biocement consumes far less energy and therefore emits much less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The company estimates that its biocement could eliminate 25% of the concrete industry’s global carbon emissions by 2030.
‘Shared goals of circularity and sustainability’
Biomason’s biocement is in use in projects throughout the United States and Europe, and its bioLITH precast tile products are commercially available for interior and exterior use in commercial, institutional and residential building projects.
“We established Biomason with the belief that being less bad is not good enough, recognizing that to combat climate change, we need immediate, revolutionary developments in the cement industry,” said Krieg Dosier. “We are excited to be working alongside H&M Group to advance our shared goals of circularity and sustainability.”
H&M Group, founded in Sweden in 1947, has grown into a global clothing and home fashion company with about 4,950 retail stores in 74 markets and 53 online markets. Its brands include COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME and ARKET, and Afound.
The publicly held company has about 153,000 employees and reported net sales of about 187 billion Swedish Krona in 2020. That’s the U.S. equivalent of about $22.4 billion.
Biomason was supported by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center during its formative years. The company’s first headquarters was in the Center’s Landing Pad offices, and it received three loans from the Biotech Center totaling $800,000, helping it raise subsequent venture capital.