Could buildings made from ‘living bricks’ spell the end of fossil fuels?
The Active Living Infrastructure: Controlled Environment (ALICE) research consortium believes so – the group, made up of Newcastle University, the University of the West of England and Translating Nature, has successfully created a prototype technology it claims could revolutionise clean building design.
Funded by UK Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020 and the EU’s Innovation Awards, the project brings together a number of bio-digital technologies into a single package.
It uses microbe-filled ‘living bricks’ that can turn domestic liquid wastes into electricity and clean water – these bricks can be used to form walls and even entire structures.
They can be used in conjunction with biosensors that record data produced by the microbial electrons, allowing the user to see whether the microbes in the bricks need to be fed or warmed up to generate more bioelectricity.
Professor Rachel Armstrong, Coordinator on the ALICE project from Newcastle University said:
“ALICE has the potential to permanently wean humanity off fossil-fuels.
“This project is part of a range of prototypes that are re-designing our buildings and reshaping the future of architecture into a two-way conversation with nature; using microbes is our way of counteracting the impacts of our increasingly hostile planetary systems. I hope this research leads to a more a sustainable future for all.”