The original inventor of Mineral Accretion Technology ("MAT"), Professor Wolf Hilbertz, had the vision to apply this technology to produce organically-grown building materials in the sea as a replacement for quarried-limestone and substitute for concrete materials.
In his white paper, “Commercial Prospects to Combat Ocean Acidification”, Dan Millison of the Asian Development Bank outlines the commercial viability of “growing” high-value limestone tiles that sell for USD $3,000 per tonne in the US market. At this price, growing limestone tiles using low-cost renewable energy is a viable commercial proposition.
As MAT can be used on steel structures of any shape and size, producing highly sought-after decorative tiles that have relief-images in them is achievable with pre-formed steel plates. Relief tiles are currently difficult to produce with existing methods and cost-effective MAT grown tiles could potentially be sold at a larger premium with good economic returns. As MAT can be used anywhere in seawater, growing tiles closest to the target market would reduce cost and carbon emissions generated during transportation.
There are a vast array of potential commercial applications possible with MAT that could generate low carbon-footprint products that would have the strength and durability of steel-reinforced concrete:
Exotic polished limestone furniture (i.e. coffee tables, chairs, benches, office desks, etc.);
Decorative components (i.e. lamp shades, lamp bases, crockery, etc.);
Bathroom and kitchen fixtures (wall tiles, countertops, etc.);
And many more.
The potential is only limited by an entrepreneur’s imagination.