BE Inject: biological cement to create artsy trenches

10 December 2020

BE Inject, part of BESIX Group, applied a completely new soil injection technique to generate biological cement for a unique art project in The Netherlands.

BE Inject Loopgraaf voor de Vrede

A deeply rooted expertise

BE Inject was founded four years ago as a division of Franki Grondtechnieken, a Dutch contractor which is in turn part of Franki Foundations. The latter is BESIX Group’s foundation specialist and belongs to the top 10 in Europe, delivering complex realisations that meet the highest standards of design, quality and safety in construction.

Peace Trenches

As a specialist in soil injections, Be Inject was called upon to shape a unique art project in The Netherlands, in partnership with Groundwater Technology .

‘Loopgraaf voor de Vrede’ (translated as ‘Peace Trenches’) is a landscape art project designed by Studio Marco Vermeulen for the municipalities of Eindhoven, Oirschot and Brabants Landschap in The Netherlands. The project is located in the heathland between both municipalities. Its purpose is to strengthen the identity and recognisability of the area to the public.

The project partly covers a defence training ground of the army. This is reflected in the design, which shows trenches in the form of the famous “peace” symbol. Visitors are able to walk through the corridors, from high to low and vice versa.

3,500 injections to create biological cement

To bring the unique design to life, BE Inject and its partner applied a completely new technique in the field of soil injections.

By injecting nutrients about 2m below ground level, bacteria that are naturally present in the soil were activated and converted into calcite. This calcite held grains of sand together and stabilised the soil, a biologically formed cement in a way. This enabled the team to construct the retaining walls of the trenches and excavate them at a later stage.

The applied technique is fairly intensive. Approximately 3,500 soil injections were required to stabilise the soil enough to start excavations. The first injection helped to create the right biochemical conditions with correct PH value and conductivity in-situ. The teams later carried on by injecting the nutrients to activate the soil and harden it. A process that had to be repeated three times in total.

An aesthetical fit with a sustainable benefit

The process required much less drastic soil work than concrete would have required. Since the natural soil layers remained visible during excavation, the wall acquired the roughness of a trench dug by hand. This ensured the aesthetic aspect of the project.

Moreover, no CO2 was emitted while the material was formed. BE Inject’s technique demonstrates perfectly how BESIX Group’s foundation experts excel in creating sustainable solutions for a better world.

Watch the video below to see the end result.

© Murat Karaagac
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