Self-Healing Buildings & Sidewalks are a Realistic Future

How else can the relatively burgeoning field of Bio-Engineering grow? With the astonishing creation of CRISP-Cas9 what other possibilities loom ahead with tech that allows us to not only edit but use genomes in whole new arenas.

Imagine a synthetic material that could grow like trees, taking the carbon from the carbon dioxide and incorporating it into the material’s backbone. A material designed, by researchers at MIT & University of California at Riverside, to react with carbon dioxide and ambient light. Which has potential for commercial applications such as self-healing coatings and crack filling and future advances leading to materials utilized in construction materials and composites.

Currently the synthetic gel-like material performs a process akin to the way plants convert carbon dioxide into glucose. This material might be made into prefabricated panels to be assembled at a build site. With an added bonus of, the material hardening & solidifying only when exposed to air and sunlight, reducing energy consumption and saving on transportation costs.

This completely uncharted area of materials science brings about a new technology of carbon-fixing materials that don't yet exist. Not only does it avoid fossil fuels for its creation but consumes carbon dioxide from the air. Thus giving obvious benefits for the environment & businesses alike.

Until now research to utilize chloroplasts has been quite limited as the chloroplasts stop operating within a few hours. The light harnessing power researchers utilized came from chloroplasts found in spinach leaves. However these chloroplasts are not alive but catalyze the reaction of carbon dioxide. The material researches used is a polymer made from aminopropyl methacrylamiden and glucose, an enzyme called glucose oxidase, and the chloroplasts becomes stronger as it consumes carbon.

Their work shows that carbon dioxide need not only be a burden and a cost. It is also an opportunity as carbon can be found everywhere.