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Eco-friendly brick is made from recycled industrial waste

Property & Construction

The Eco BLAC brick is made from recycled industrial waste — an environmentally and economically sustainable alternative to clay fired bricks.

The clay fired brick has been the most popular building material in India for centuries, but its production has hugely negative environmental and social impacts — the pollution produced by dirty brick kilns, the use of valuable top-soil, and the poor working conditions. Now, the Eco BLAC brick, produced by a group of MIT students, could offer an environmentally and economically sustainable solution: the brick is made from recycled industrial waste and doesn’t require firing at all.

The Eco BLAC brick will be made from 70 percent boiler ash — a byproduct of combustion created at small and medium factories — mixed with sodium hydroxide, lime and a small amount of clay. Boiler ash is currently disposed of in harmful ways, such as in local landfills. Whereas normal bricks require a huge amount of energy in order to be fired at 1,000 degrees celsius, the Eco BLAC brick doesn’t need firing. Instead, it uses alkali-activation technology which enables the bricks to set at an ambient temperature.

The Eco BLAC brick is currently being tested in Muzaffarnager in partnership with a local paper mill. How else could waste products be recycled and replace valuable raw materials?

Email: laracym@mit.edu

Website: www.tatacenter.mit.edu

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