Posting in Architecture
An American architecture professor has figured out how to grow bricks from bacteria, sand, and pee. The recipe for bacteria-based brick seems eco-friendly enough, but it might be difficult to actually manufacture.
Some 1.23 trillion bricks are made every year — so brick making has a bigger carbon footprint than the entire airline industry. Traditionally, bricks are made by hand after clay is heated at high temperatures in coal-ovens — each brick usually produces 1.3 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Ginger Krieg Dosier discovered how to grow bricks at room temperature. She has developed a way to create eco-friendly bricks using calcium chloride, bacteria, sand, and urea.
Doisier uses a process called microbial-induced calcite precipitation, or MICP, to bind the sand particles together with bacteria. Then as Fast Company describes, the bricks are built layer-by-layer like lasagna.
“We’re running out of all of our energy sources,” [Dosier] told Metropolis Magazine. “Four hundred trees are burned to make 25,000 bricks. It’s a consumption issue, and honestly, it’s starting to scare me.”
So far Dosier, an architecture professor at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, has created "Lego-sized" bricks, Popular Science reports. However, if Dosier's "ecobricks" are used instead of the traditional ones, they could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 800 million tons a year.
Dosier's brick making nabbed Metropolis Magazine's 2010 Next Generation award. According to Metropolis Magazine, the recipe for building a bacteria-based brick is:
- Place the "formwork" in the sand.
- Fill it up.
- Mix up the bacteria solution.
- Pour the bacteria solution over the sand.
- Wait. Allow the solution to saturate.
- Pour the glue-like solution over the sand to bind the particles together.
- Again, be patient. Let it saturate.
- Let the brick get hard.
- Remove the "formwork".
- Allow the brick to get harder.
- Solid. The bio brick should be good to go.
To make the bricks on a large scale, Dosier needs to figure out how to print them in 3D. Besides the manufacturing issue, Tree Hugger points out a potential environmental hurdle to overcome: The process eventually produces nitrates, a pollutant that could leak into the nearby groundwater supply.
via Popular Science
May 26, 2010
This is foreward thinking but the nitrate problem is big. How well do these bricks hold up to the environment. Going off topic a little, could the waste heat from nuke plants be used for some thing? The huge cooling towers are basicly just wasting heat energy. Shouldn't we consider this heat energy as a possible resource? I don't know if this could be used for conventioal brick making, but it might be useful for some thing else. Concrete making is another energy intense product that might benefit from this. Think of others.
Interesting that the MAJOR problem of nitrate production wasn't mentioned until the end. With more nuclear power they wouldn't have to burn so many trees. However, farmed trees aren't an issue. Using them doesn't cause deforestation since the harvesting companies replant their farms which are their private property.
Also, more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes plants to constrict the pores on the bottom of their leaves where they "breathe." This reduces water evaporation from the plants and allows them to be grown in areas with less water that are not currently subject to cultivation.
1. Place the ?formwork? in the sand. 2. Fill it up. 3. Level. 4. Scrape the sides of my toilet and extract 3 cups of water from the bowl. 5. Pour the solution over the sand. 6. Wait. Allow the solution to saturate. 7. Pee on the brick. 8. Again, be patient. Let it saturate. 9. Let the brick get hard. 10. Remove the ?formwork?. 11. Allow the brick to get harder. 12. Solid. The bio brick should be good to go. Of course you could still fire the brick if you needed a glazed face.
Why does the Tree Hugger article call these "bricks" but you call them "brinks"? I mean, really, what do they look like? Do you not have editors?
What a great idea. Bacteria can also have health benefits and can make you smater. Here is an article about these benefits. Enjoy. http://cbt20.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/can-bacteria-make-you-smarter/