Inspiring an anti-pollution revolution one brick at a time

MIT students develop a low-cost, eco-friendly brick made out of industrial waste to reduce pollution in India.
Eco-BLAC brick

Eco-BLAC brick is a low-cost and eco-friendly alternative to the standard red clay brick used in building. Developed by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students, the new brick, manufactured from industrial waste, is part of a larger project that aims to promote more sustainable construction materials in India.

To make clay bricks, materials have to be heated to extreme temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Celsius before setting – a process that emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, depletes topsoil and consumes energy. To address this problem, the MIT students found a more eco-friendly way to heat and an alternative material to create a low-cost brick that doesn’t cause pollution.

Eco-BLAC bricks are manufactured from the boiler ash produced by paper mills, which dump the waste into landfills where it becomes hazardous to the environment and to human health. The students are currently working together with a paper mill in the city of Muzaffarnagar to produce the bricks, using a low-energy process called alkali activation technology. The method hardens the bricks at room temperature and does not require the burning of materials, which release carbon emissions.

The project aims to reduce the high levels of pollution in India, caused by the Masonry industry, and provide an affordable building material to low-income communities.