NM man's 'bionic soil' turns dirt to
stone, revolutionizes road repair worldwide
by Ryan Luby,
KOB Eyewitness News 4
They're often rutted and dangerous, but a Santa Fe business owner
has a new technology that could forever change how road crews
repair and maintain dirt roads.
Indeed, there's a certain beauty found in taking a road less
traveled in New Mexico, but there's also a certain headache -- a
teeth-ratting reminder why most dirt roads should be avoided.
On the back roads of the Navajo Nation, that's almost always true.
"There are a lot of struggles," Benjamin Bennett, the deputy
director of the Navajo Nation Division of Transportation said in
an interview with 4 Investigates.
The Navajo Nation is almost entirely rural and sparsely
populated. Because of that, there are hundreds of miles of
dirt roads. Crews try to maintain them, but it's often
After the snow melts every winter, it's especially tough.
"[We] try to make sure that we can keep everybody out of the mud,"
He said some of the roads develop ruts that are up to one foot
deep. He said some people never leave their homes for fear
of becoming stranded.
They're often too far out of reach of emergency responders as
well, he said.
However, Bennett hopes those are problems of the past. The
Navajo Nation recently bought into a new technology called bionic
soil, which puts Mother Nature's biological clock into overdrive.
"The product technology is called lithification, and lithification
is the definition of transforming soil into rock," Bob Sherwin,
founder of Bionic Soil Solutions said.
He had the help of an inventor in Brisbane, Australia in
developing a "secret sauce" -- a non-toxic, proprietary liquid
that exponentially accelerates the breakdown of oxygen, silicon,
and aluminum found naturally in soil to turn it into stone.
"It's what Mother Nature does over hundreds of thousands of
years," Sherwin said.
In order for the product to work properly, he said crews first
till a dirt road with a machine called a reclaimer. Then,
they spray the fluffed dirt with water to make it pack well.
After that, they apply the "sauce," smooth the dirt with road
rollers, then wait for it to harden overnight.
The next morning, 4 Investigates found it to be as hard as
concrete and as smooth as a freshly-paved interstate.
Sherwin said the bionic soil is scientifically proven to be harder
than concrete, water repellent, and nearly indestructible.
He demonstrated how the bionic soil remains intact, like a rock,
when submerged in water. He said he's had some samples
soaking for months which haven't changed a bit.
The Navajo Nation is confident the product is environmentally
friendly to their sacred land. Bennett said the Navajo DOT
has more stringent environmental standards than the rest of the
He also believes the bionic soil is a permanent solution along a
particularly problematic, six-mile stretch of road through a
"This [project] was on the books since 1998," Bennett said.
He said the $1.3 million project is costing them the same, or
less, than what they would have spent on a traditional road made
of gravel and sand.
Sherwin said traditional gravel and sand roads last about three or
four years, whereas the bionic soil could last for 20 or 30 years.
"Its going to open a lot of doors," Bennett said. "It's
going to sell itself. And I think that if we can do that
across the Navajo Nation, we could put a lot of people out of the
Bionic Soil Solutions has completed roughly a dozen other projects
elsewhere across New Mexico, including a road near Edgewood and on
pads that surround pump jacks in the oil fields.
Further, the company expects to apply the product to the
construction of homes. Ultimately, it plans to donate the
product to the making of dirt bricks in underdeveloped countries.
Sherwin, along with more than a dozen investors scattered across
the western U.S., recently secured licensing rights for their
product nationwide. They have plans to expand worldwide.
1. Bionic Soil treated parking lot
2. Untreated adjoining lot
3. Calgary Road, 13 years after treatment
Bionic Soil Solutions
218 Camino La Tierra, Santa Fe, NM 87507
Bionic Soil Solutions International (BSSI) is the manufacturer and
Exclusive Worldwide Distributor of a revolutionary soil technology
called “Lithification.” (The process in which soil is transformed
into rock). This paradigm shifting technology can be used in
the construction and maintenance of dirt roads and subgrade, earth
blocks and earth liners.
Ben Bennett Deputy Director, Navajo DOT
“Its going to open a lot of doors and I believe it is selling
itself. From what I’ve seen after all of the rains, I would give
it a 10. I would tell others that this is a very promising product
and it’s worth looking into as we plan to use it more ourselves.
This is the first time we’ve had a product like this and we are
very impressed with it.”
The New Mexican ( November 11, 2014 )
Businessman seeking green roadbuilding
solution sees success on Navajo project
Bob Sherwin Former real estate agent Bob Sherwin has been working
for years on a long-lasting, eco-friendly solution to the problems
of maintaining hundreds of miles of rutted dirt roads in rural New
Mexico and elsewhere. He thought he had the answer several years
ago with a product called RoadPacker, which he used to treat Spur
Ranch Road in a private subdivision off U.S. 285 south of
Today the road is “1,000 percent” better, but it isn’t water
resistant, and there have been some problems after heavy rains.
The product, which has a high acid content, had worked well in
China, Australia, Mexico and Canada. But it turned out that it
didn’t work as well in the Southwest, where the pH content of
soils is much higher, he said. He went back to the inventor, Alan
Sonnenburg of Brisbane, Australia, who, it turned out, was
developing a new formula designed to work in all soil conditions.
And now Sherwin thinks he’s really found the solution to the
problem. The new product turns dirt to stone overnight through a
process called lithification in nature, he said.
Sherwin pointed out that a French materials scientists — Joseph
Davidovits— believes this type of technology, not cut stone, was
used to build the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Sherwin’s
company, Bionic Soil Solutions LLC, has recently completed work on
11 miles of rural roads on the Navajo Nation, where the ruts after
a snowmelt are as deep as 18 inches in places. “So far we are very
pleased,” said Benjamin Bennett, deputy director of the Navajo
Nation Division of Transportation. Soils, Sherwin said, have three
common elements: oxygen, silicon and aluminum. They combine to
form aluminosilicate. Bionic Soil turns the aluminosilicates into
a gel that hardens and becomes impermeable to water. Sonnenburg
added accelerators to make this process happen in 24 hours rather
than over many thousands of years, the time it would take to occur
Bionic Soil Solutions partners with Univar USA, an international
company that blends the product and sends it to the job site in
tankers. The application process involves scarifying or tilling
the soil with a grader or, for bigger projects, a reclaimer. The
formula is mixed with water and the top 6 inches of soil. Then the
surface is shaped and rolled. “You can drive on it immediately,”
Sherwin said. The process is cheaper than laying down base course,
the sand and gravel mixture used on many county roads. Sherwin
said a mile of base course 6 inches deep and 24 feet wide takes 95
to 99 truckloads of gravel. Bionic Soil applications require 1 1/2
tankers of solution (at 3,500 gallons per tanker).
The overall cost depends on how far the materials have to be
hauled. Because the Navajo Nation roads were so remote, the job is
costing the tribe about $230,000 per mile, Bennett said. Paving
the road could cost up to $2 million a mile, he added. Sherwin
estimates the cost could be as low as $75,000 a mile for less
remote stretches of road. In the case of Bionic Soil, the treated
road will last longer and with a lot less maintenance, Sherwin
said. If the product catches on, it could reduce the amount of
gravel mining here and elsewhere. According to Sherwin, 300
million tons of virgin aggregate are mined annually in the U.S.,
taking down hills and leaving behind big, empty pits.
Sherwin is Bionic Soil’s founder and managing partner and owns 50
percent of the company. The other half is owned by about 35
investors, some of whom invested in RoadPacker, an entity that has
been dissolved. Bionic Soil Solutions bought licensing and
distribution rights for the U.S. and its protectorates and pays
inventor Sonneburg money for every gallon sold. The company is
currently looking for potential customers in the private sector —
gas, oil, wind and solar energy firms, ranchers, farmers and
Native communities — who can act more quickly than the public
sector, although Sherwin said he met with the New Mexico
Department of Transportation last week.
The new road technology has other applications as well. The
company built a parking lot and 11 battery pads for an oil company
in Carlsbad to reduce the chance of chemical spills reaching
groundwater. “We’re hoping to spread the word to other oil
companies,” Sherwin said. The product also can be adapted for
making adobe earth blocks for homebuilding. Bennett said he thinks
Bionic Soil speaks for itself. White Clay Road and Blue Canyon
Road near Sawmill, Ariz., on the Navajo Reservation were virtually
impassable, especially after hard rains and snow. They are also
school bus routes, and the buses that are able to get through
“tend to have high maintenance costs,” he said. Because of the
conditions of the roads, Bionic Soil Solutions had to strip the
roads down to the bottom of the ruts, at least a foot, and then
build them back up. After the product was applied and the road was
shaped and smoothed, the crew did a test drive. Sherwin said they
were able to reach a speed of 87 mph on roads where the previous
limit was about 5 mph.
To avoid compromising the surface, however, crews removing snow
and debris will use a rubber-edged blade positioned a half-inch
above the surface. But Bennett said “there’s no maintenance
required,” and from the cost savings, “we could move on and do
other roads.” What we’re shooting for,” Sherwin said, “is a green
road technology that reduces the carbon footprint. One and
one-half truckloads [of product] versus 98 [trucks of
gravel].Businessman seeking green roadbuilding solution sees
success on Navajo project
Soil Stabilization Applications
Bionic Road Solution (BRS): Binds the native soil, base course,
gravel and even caliche tightly together to form a water
resistant, long lasting road or subgrade. This application
reduces dust by 80-90% (Decreased liability associated with heavy
dust in the oilfield or any high traffic caliche road).
Bionic Pond Liners (BEL): Transforms native soil into an
impermeable soil layer. Excellent for Frac Pond applications
due to the reduction in materials needed to construct the pond, as
well as reducing the amount of leaks due to animals or heavy
equipment piercing the pond liner. Environmentally friendly!
Why Bionic Soil?
Road Maintenance is EXPENSIVE!
Deferred Maintenance – drives up long term costs, shortens
rehabilitation cycle, increases costs by as much as 400%!
Deferred Rehabilitation – compounds the problem at hand, leads to
road failure, reconstruction of road bed results in 1000% increase
The United States currently mines 300,000,000 tons of aggregate
each year to create base course for construction of roads
Building one mile of two lane road creates 7,000 tons of carbon
Concrete, asphalt, and base course are among the TOP contributors
to green house gas emissions today!
The current road building methods are not sustainable for the end
users or for our planet.
Bionic Soil Soultions MSDS
[ PDF ]
Method for treating subterranean formations
Applicant(s): UNIVAR CORP [US] +
Subterranean geological formations such as those surrounding oil
well bore holes, are treated by placing in or adjacent the
formation a particulate material coated with a two-step, curable,
novolac-type phenolic resin. The resin is thereafter cured in situ
to bond the particulate matter together.
INORGANIC COMPOSITE FOR SOIL PAVEMENT, CONSTRUCTION METHOD
OF SOIL PAVEMENT USING THE COMPOSITE
PURPOSE: An inorganic composite in a non-cement system for soil
pavement is provided to maintain an intrinsic property of soil
pavement, to have excellent compression strength, and to prevent
the elution of heavy metals by using a lasting type alkali
activator which has granulated blast furnace slag powder and
natural acid clay. CONSTITUTION: An inorganic composite in a
non-cement system for soil pavement comprises 100.0 of granulated
blast furnace slag and 5-20 parts by weight of a lasting type
alkali activator. The lasting alkali activator comprises 1,000
parts by weight of natural acid clay, 50 parts by weight of
natural anhydrous gypsum, 5-20 parts by weight of slaked lime,
5-10 parts by weight of sodium hydroxide, 5-10 parts by weight of
potassium silicate and 0.5-2.5 parts by weight of calcium
stearate. A production method of the lasting alkali activator
includes the following steps; the first pulverized product is
produced by grinding a mixture of the natural acid clay and the
anhydrous gypsum with the weight ratio of 100:50 into a size of
7,000-8,000 cm^2/g; the second pulverized product is produced by
grinding the sodium hydroxide, the potassium silicate, the slaked
lime and calcium stearate into 3,000-4,000cm^2/g; and the first
pulverized product and the second pulverized product is mixed for
10-20 minutes. [Reference numerals] (AA) Generation of a first
pulverized product(mixing and pulverizing natural acid
clay/natural anhydrous gypsum); (BB) Generation of a second
pulverized product(mixing and pulverizing sodium
hydroxide/potassium silicate/slaked lime/calcium stearate); (CC)
Mixture of the first pulverized product/the second pulverized
product; (DD) Production of a continuous alkali magnetic material;
(EE) Mixing of the continuous alkali magnetic material/granulated
blast furnace slag powder; (FF)
GROUTING COMPOSITION FOR SEMI-RIGID ASPHALT CONCRETE USING
PURPOSE: A semi-rigid asphalt concrete grout material using a
geopolymer is provided to increase the hardening speed, the
compression intensity, the durability, the abrasion resistance,
the water resistance, the chemical resistance and the slip
resistance of semi-rigid asphalt concrete by mixing an acrylic
resin in the geopolymer. CONSTITUTION: A semi-rigid asphalt
concrete grout material using a geopolymer comprises 30-98 wt% of
geopolymer, 1-30 wt% of acrylic resin, and 1-50 wt% of water. The
geopolymer includes at least one material selected from fine slag
powder, fly ash, paper mill sludge ash, slica fume, kaolin based
minerals, calcium silicate based minerals, calcium aluminate based
minerals, plasticized and pulverized clay, and oil shale ash. The
geopolymer additionally includes at least one compound selected
from sodium hydroxide, sodium aluminate, sodium sulfate hydrate,
thenardite, potassium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, a sodium
silicate solution, and a potassium silicate solution.
Lithification reinforcing structure and lithification
reinforcing method thereof
The invention relates to a lithification reinforcing structure and
a lithification reinforcing method thereof. The lithification
reinforcing structure is a support structure formed in stages in
accordance with different underground spaces, and is formed by
combining lithifed soil and grouted bars by hole drilling and
grouting and integrally molding with concrete reinforcements. The
lithification reinforcing method comprises the following steps: 1.
drilling holes, 2. grouting, 3. reinforcing, and 4. carrying out
space support construction. By pressing mud and seeping mud to
carry out lithification processing on a loose stratum, the
invention lithifies the muddy soil stratum which is not applicable
to undermining originally and facilitates the undermining, thereby
reducing dismantlement of surface buildings; by the support of the
concrete reinforcements to the inner wall of a tunneling space,
the invention enhances the support strength of the foundation
work, can be used as a permanent stressing support, an early
support before undermining or tunneling construction, a support in
front of a tunneling surface, a support after a tunneling surface,
a gross section transition support and a temporary support,
provides reliable operating space for construction and improves
the operating safety. Besides, the invention has the advantages of
high strength, low project cost, high construction speed,
convenience and feasibility, and solves the construction problems
of wide-span ultra shallow-buried underground buildings.
MIXTURE FOR DETOXIFICATION AND LITHIFICATION OF DRILLING
SLUDGES AND OIL- POLLUTED GROUNDS
FIELD: environmental protection. SUBSTANCE: invention relates to
production of man-made mineral mixtures for detoxification and
lithification of sludges, in particular liquid and visco-plastic
spent drilling muds, various oil-polluted objects, in particular
grounds, etc., and objects containing toxic compounds: heavy metal
salts, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum derivatives,
synthetic surfactants, radionuclides, etc. Mixture contains, wt.%:
aluminosilicate rock, 55-80; lime, 5-10; Portland cement, 5-20;
and mineral complexing additive (bi- or trivalent metal chloride,
sulfate, or carbonate, or mixtures for each anion, or
phosphogypsum), 5-30. EFFECT: accelerated lithification of harmful
mass and thereby decreased migration of pollutants into
BLEND FOR DETOXIFICATION AND LITHIFICATION OF DOMESTIC AND
INDUSTRIAL WASTES, BOTTOM SEDIMENTS, SLUDGES, AND OIL-POLLUTED
SUBSTANCE: invention, in particular, relates to production of
artificial mineral blends for detoxification and lithification of
viscous-plastic and solid wastes, in particular exhausted drilling
fluids, oil-polluted grounds, and the like, containing toxic
substances (heavy metal salts, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,
petroleum products, synthetic surfactants, radionuclides, etc.).
Blend includes, %: aluminosilicate, 55-80; mineral, 5-10; lime,
10-30. Portland cement additionally contains 5-30% of dispersed
organic sorbent, specifically peat, wood flour, crushed
agricultural waste (for example chaff), and also sapropel. EFFECT:
increased reliability of sorption of light hydrocarbons and
negatively charged heavy metal complexes, cyanides, etc.
MIX FOR DICONTAMINATION AND LITHIFICATION OF HOUSEHOLD GARBAGE
AND INDUSTRIAL WASTE, AND BOTTOM SEDIMENTS
Decontamination and lithification of liquid viscous plastic and
solid household and industrial waste and bottom sediments
containing toxic compounds. SUBSTANCE: mix comprises wt %:
alumosilicate rock, 60-80; portland cement, 10-20; complex aniline
compounds of copper and/or iron, 1-3; and polypropylene fiber,
2-3. EFFECT: higher mechanical properties of the resulting
MANUFACTURING METHOD OF ACIDIC GROUP POWDER LITHIFICATION
CHEMICAL AND LITHIFICATION TREATMENT METHOD FOR SEWAGE SLUDGE
USING THE SAME
A method for manufacturing an acid-based powder type solidifying
agent and a method for solidifying sludge using the solidifying
agent are provided to prevent secondary environmental pollution
due to discharge and landfill, by reusing waste plaster as the
acid-based powder type solidifying agent. A first mixing step is
performed by mixing ferrous sulfate-7-hydrate into 96% of sulfuric
acid(S1). A second mixing step is performed by mixing waste
plaster powder, which is dried to have a water-content of below
5%, into the mixture processed by the first mixing step(S2). A
first curing step is performed by cooling and pulverizing the
mixture processed by the second mixing step(S3). A third mixing
step is performed by mixing calcined lime as alkaline powder and
sewage sludge containing much moisture into acidic powder prepared
by the first curing step(S4).; A moisture of the mixture processed
by the third mixing step is stabilized(S5).
Method for the lithification of weak building foundations
A manufacturing method of mineral fiber paper