The search for sustainable building materials has technology firms and construction companies looking in some surprising places. One such firm, bioMason, found a way to create construction-grade bricks from, believe it or not, bacteria — bacterial byproducts to be specific.
From Bacteria to Bricks
Bacteria create natural cement (similar to coral) in as little as five days. This cement is combined with sand to form bricks capable of holding up to the pressures of residential and commercial construction. Essentially, the bioMason brick is grown not manufactured by combining natural waste products with sand, an abundant resource compared to traditional building materials.
The process of growing “bio-bricks” from microorganisms uses less energy than the production of concrete and clay. According to the company, “Global cement production in 2008 amounted 2.8 billion tons, with equivalent quantities of CO2 released into the atmosphere.” Though the comparative energy consumption is unclear, most would agree that any reduction in waste is a positive one.
bioMason, and its founder Ginger Dosier, have been widely recognized for their contribution to sustainable building. In September 2013 the company won 500,000 euros for business development in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge in Amsterdam. More recently, bioMason took home top prize in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge in San Francisco.
These recognitions do not guarantee success for firms like bioMason. Only time will tell if the construction community is willing to accept alternative materials, regardless of their carbon footprint.
Do you think the “bio-brick” will catch on? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.