British masonry producer Lignacite has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first “carbon-negative building block.”
The company says its new Carbon Buster block, developed in partnership with Carbon8 Aggregates, is the first ever building block that captures more carbon dioxide than it generates during the manufacturing process, at around 14kg of CO2 per ton.
The block is comprised of over 50 per cent recycled aggregate, combined with carbon aggregates created using the thermal residue produced by industry.
Lignacite chief executive Giles de Lotbiniere says the Carbon Buster block extends Lignacite’s track record as a green building innovator.
“We were the first block manufacturer in the country to introduce recycled and waste materials into our products, and one of our ranges already contained 90 per cent waste materials,” he said.
“However, we firmly believe that constant innovation is key to creating a more sustainable future for everyone.”
Dr. Paula Carey, Carbon8 technical director, says the block is the product of the practical application of recent academic research.
“On the back of research carried out at the University of Greenwich’s School of Science, Carbon8 identified an end use for thermal residues from waste to energy plants,” she said.
“By mixing the residue with water and carbon dioxide, we were able to transform the material into what the Environment Agency has agreed is a product suitable as a virgin aggregate replacement.”
The thermal residue is carbonated at a 1 million UK pound (roughly AU$1.5 million) carbonation plant built by Carbon8 in Brandon, Suffolk, adjacent to Lignacite’s own masonry facilities. Following carbonation it is mixed with blenders and fillers before undergoing pelletisation.
The pellets are subsequently used as one of the key ingredients in the Carbon Buster block. The use of other recycled waste materials, including glass, shells and wood shavings, further minimize the product’s carbon footprint.
While Lignacite’s prior use of recycled waste served to significantly diminish the carbon footprint of its products, the use of carbonated aggregates has finally enabled the company to manufacture a block which is carbon negative.
de Lotbiniere says the commercial popularity of the product will receive a boost from policy in support of sustainable building.
“With the government’s commitment to zero carbon homes, we are confident the Carbon Buster has an important role to play in helping to meet the 2016 targets,” he said.