Dust Control with a Solid Impact

What does dust mean to you? Something you wipe away from your home or office surfaces once a week? Chances are, if you live in Europe, you don’t give it more than a passing thought. However, for people in more arid regions of the world like parts of Africa, the Middle East, and South America, dust is a major health, environmental, and workplace safety concern. Due to climate change, the impact of dust will also increase dramatically in Europe in the coming decades.

Luckily, Bind-X, an EIT RawMaterials-supported biotechnology company, exists. And they are here to bust that dust. They’re also doing it for the first time in a 100% sustainable way, with additional benefits. Bind-X CEO is Martin Spitznagel:

In most areas of the world, people are very aware of the problems associated with dust. They know that there are major implications for their health and for the environment, and also for workers’ safety and productivity in raw materials industries. But here in Europe, unless perhaps there is dust and sand blowing over from the Sahara, we are not even aware of the problem. This will change drastically in the coming decades with climate change. Even in the last corners of central Europe where dust is not a problem now, it will become a big issue. But we will manage that problem. That is our mission.

Martin Spitznagel, CEO Bind-X

Major Health Benefits

The Bind-X products makes established industries, such as mining and agriculture, safer, more efficient, and sustainable. Their award-winning, dust-management solution is biological, lung-friendly, planet-friendly, and cost-friendly. Indeed, Bind-X was the 2021 winner of the Eramet Responsible Mining Challenge.

Crucially, it is also the only dust-control product that can efficiently tackle even the tiniest dust particles. This is hugely welcome news for workers, people living close to mine sites, and entire communities in general. Because the tiniest particles are the most lethal. They can easily enter the lungs, causing serious health problems.

In a nutshell, the Bind-X bio-technological solution (a powder that can be applied solid or dissolved in water) is put on surfaces and binds dust particles together. The result is a solid crust that prevents dust being generated, no matter what the wind conditions. There is no negative impact on the surrounding environment or human health, as the product is biological in nature.

This is why Martin is the EIT RawMaterials nominee for the EIT Venture Award 2022. The award recognises start-ups and scale-ups that have been supported by the EIT Community.

Leaving Competitors in the Dust

Bind-X is already fully scaled up and there is a huge demand for its product. They have a large production facility in South Africa that facilitates market entry in the entire Southern hemisphere. Their next move is offering Bind-X products in Australia and Chile. Following that, further global expansion is planned.

Martin says that the raw materials industry, and communities in general, stand to benefit immeasurably from their solution. The alternatives on offer can be incredibly detrimental to the planet and human health. Not to mention short-term in their effect, and more expensive. Unlike other solutions on the market, Bind-X does not just wet the dust or cover it temporarily. Their unique solidification product is long-lasting. Through their technological platform, they can even customise their product fully to a client’s specific needs.

You can read about their solution in more detail in our article Bind-X turns dust to stone.

A Must if You’ve got Dust

From a worker’s point of view, for example on a mine site, their day-to-day work is improved immensely by Bind-X’s solution. Productivity is increased because they are not forced to repeatedly try to tackle issues caused by dust. Efficiencies are increased, such as trucks being able to drive faster with less downtime and less required maintenance. And of course, health is not at risk from harmful chemicals used to control dust – and the dust itself

There are major advantages for communities living close to mine sites or industrial sites. This dust very often contains hazardous materials, like for example heavy metal residue. And that has implications on health. This is a serious issue that has to be tackled effectively and efficiently. Through our measures there will be less dust in the first place. In the second place, dust management is safe, biological, and sustainable.

Martin Spitznagel, CEO Bind-X

And this will be something we will be grateful for too in Europe in the years to come.

Bind-X’s role in Achieving Europe’s 2050 Climate Goals

Bind-X’s mission will also have a significant role to play in the successful achievement of the European Green Deal goal of climate-neutrality by 2050. Martin explains:

Enabling the green energy and mobility transition means an increasing demand for raw materials. At the same time, Europe needs to be more independent within its raw material supply. The conclusion is we will have more mining in Europe – mining that absolutely has to be sustainable and cannot harm people’s health. And that’s where we come in. Bind-X is making mining more responsible and greener. Our product is cutting CO2 emissions, reducing the use of harmful chemicals, and improving the environmental footprint overall.

Martin Spitznagel, CEO Bind-X

The winners of the EIT Awards will be announced on 11 October at the EIT Summit in Brussels as part of INNOVEIT WEEKS.