This is of some interest. Until this, I have not seen a satisfactory use for fly ash that took advantage of the fact that it is already heat treated as the result of other necessary processes such as burning coal. We would never make this stuff deliberately.
That it can be then cast using only a tenth of the energy needed for ordinary brick making means that this product is a possible replacement for all brick types. It will take a while, and there may simply not be enough fly ash to do it all.
I also suggest that this protocol can develop possible applications in fine casting far beyond what is presently possible. It is light and been prefired, it seems unlikely to suffer contraction failure as easily.
The article suggests heavy usage applications are feasible. If all this holds up then I think we will see a lot more of this. It will certainly be much cheaper.
September 23, 2009
CalStar Products, Inc. uses advanced technology to make architectural facing bricks and durable pavers for the green building market. Both products contain 40% post-industrial recycled material, use 90% less energy to make, and generate 90% less CO2 than traditional fired clay brick and pavers
Building operations consume around 39 percent of the total energy in the U.S. and construction materials use another 12 percent, according to the Department of Energy.
CalStar’s commercial Fly Ash Brick (FAB) is fully compliant with ASTM C-216, is available in modular and utility sizes, and comes in seven colors.
CalStar’s products are designed to be price competitive with traditional products of equivalent quality. This way, we make it easy for our customers to do the right thing for the environment without having to sacrifice project budgets.
Ordinary bricks are fired for 24 hours at 2,000 degrees F (1,093 C) as part of a process that can last a week, while Calstar bricks are baked at temperatures below 212 F (100 C) and take only 10 hours from start to finish.
At first, the company will make only "facing brick," used on the outside of buildings, a $2 billion annual U.S. market. It plans to branch out into paving stones, roofing tile and other brick markets.
The company has signed 16 distributors to sell 12 million or more bricks the first year, and plans to make 100 million bricks for sale throughout the Midwest and South, CEO Kane said. After that, fast-growing markets like China beckon.
Although new clay brick factories, using the most efficient technology and controls, might create bricks with an embodied energy of 5800 Btu/brick, we believe the BEES figure of 8800 Btu may be more indicative of the industry average.
With respect to Mr. Clark’s concern that we do not account for energy required to produce fly ash, fly ash is a by-product of burning coal for power generation. The coal will be burned regardless of whether fly ash is beneficially reused or tossed into a landfill. The recycling of fly ash into construction materials not only prevents the need for more landfills (thereby preserving land and open space), but also improves some material properties and dramatically reduces the environmental impact of those products.
Serious Materials is a company that is trying to bring a more energy efficient drywall, ecorock, to market
Serious Materials website
The production of standard gypsum drywall – a process invented in 1917 – results in up to 20 billion pounds of CO2 per year. Drywall is the third-worst greenhouse gas producer in building materials.
EcoRock™, a non-gypsum, green alternative to standard drywall that performs and is used just like drywall, uses 80% less energy to produce, with a corresponding drop in emissions
Serious Materials Energy-Saving Windows
Windows represent the single largest opportunity for improvement in the built environment. 39% of all emissions are tied to building operations, with 38% of that for heating and cooling. Up to 40% of that energy – and cost – literally goes out the window. The wasted energy causes over 250 million tons of emissions per year.
Today’s good quality, dual-pane commercial or residential windows are typically R-1 to R-3. This number is dramatically lower than a typical R-13 wall.
Our Serious Windows deliver true, full frame window performance from R-5 to R-11. This performance is up to four times higher than major brands, and Energy Star requirements.