Innovation That Matters

| Photo source SeaBrick

A kelp-based brick system for marine construction

Architecture & Design

A startup is working to make bricks out of seaweed to create floating structures that sequester carbon

Spotted: For some libertarians, the ocean is the next frontier – its international waters offering freedom from government control and intervention. While the movement – seasteading — has yet to get off the ground, a few advances have been made. One of these may be SeaBrick, which is developing an interlocking, buoyant, brick system composed primarily of kelp biomass.

SeaBrick’s product is designed to provide an alternative to hollow metal or concrete for marine infrastructure. According to the company, SeaBrick will be made from kelp or sargassum – abundant ocean resources. These materials will be dried, chopped up, combined with biologically sourced additives, and compressed into blocks. These will then be coated in a non-toxic polymer.

In addition to requiring minimal energy and heat to manufacture, SeaBrick also claims the blocks sequester 200 kilogrammes per cubic metre. The blocks are 72 per cent less expensive per tonne than floating concrete, 83 per cent less expensive per tonne than aluminium pontoons and 58 per cent less expensive than steel, while also emitting far less carbon in their manufacture.

According to the Seasteading Institute, Founder John Richardson says that the company’s vision it to, “Use floating SeaBrick made from seaweed to decarbonise the global construction sector while supporting vulnerable coastal communities.” The company adds that “Kelp will move us away from an extraction-based economy to one that is completely regenerative with cultivated kelp-based products replacing extraction products.”

Building material for floating cities is just one of the latest uses for seaweed. In fact, seaweed production is turning into a major industry, with numerous innovative uses that Springwise has spotted. These include using macro-algae to produce a packaging alternative to plastic, and eco-friendly sound-proofing.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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