Unlike many new technologies, biosolid bricks rely on a raw material that’s cheap, abundant, continually produced and poorly exploited… yeah, it’s poop. “The EU produces over 9 million tonnes of biosolids a year while the United States produces about 7.1 million tonnes,” according to the RMIT researchers. About 5 million tonnes of the biosolids produced in Australia, New Zealand, the EU, US and Canada annually are relegated to landfills or stockpiles. Adding a minimum 15% biosolids content to a mere 15% of manufactured bricks could make these 5 million tonnes vanish like the world’s largest flush.
The Straight Poop
“More than 3 billion cubic meters of clay soil is dug up each year for the global brick-making industry, to produce about 1.5 trillion bricks,” stated lead investigator Associate Professor Abbas Mohajerani (above). The team’s research into biosolid exploitation was aimed at tackling two outstanding environmental issues: the stockpiling of biosolids, and the excavation of clay soils used to manufacture bricks. Mohajerani, who is a civil engineer at RMIT’s School of Engineering, explained that “Using biosolids in bricks could be the solution to these big environmental challenges. It’s a practical and sustainable proposal for recycling the biosolids currently stockpiled or going to landfill around the globe.”
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