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How About Bitublock ?

bitublockThe trash you throw away today may just turn into your future home, if the concept behind the Bitublock takes off. Designed by engineer John Forth, of the University of Leeds in England, the blocks are produced with a mixture of waste materials, including crushed glass, pulverized fuel ash, incinerated sewage, steel slag, and other waste products that would normally wind up in landfills or, worse, wherever they happen to be discarded. Further, less energy is required to make the Bitublocks than is needed for concrete. These products are bound together by bitumen, (a byproduct of crude oil distillation used widely in road construction), before compacting it in a mould to form a solid block. Next the block is heat-cured, which oxidizes the bitumen so it hardens like concrete. This makes it possible to use a higher proportion of waste in the Bitublock than by using a cement or clay binder.

In the UK alone, Bitublock could put to good use the yearly estimated 490,000 tons of crushed glass and 550,000 tons of incinerator ash. The aim is to completely replace concrete as a structural material, Dr Forth says. Plus the amount of energy required and new material needed to create it. Not only eco-friendly, according to the research he has conducted, (in conjunction with civil engineering colleague Dong Van Dao), the block is as much as six times stronger than concrete when hardened. “Bitublocks use up to 100% waste materials and avoids sending them to landfill, which is quite unheard of in the building industry,’’ Dr Forth says.

This innovative project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is being carried out in partnership with Dr Salah Zoorob from the University of Nottingham. Their work could be on the market within three to five years, and there is enormous commercial interest.

This invention would revolutionize the building industry, providing a sustainable, low-energy option for construction. “Bitublocks provide an ideal opportunity for the utilization of many waste materials,’’ Dr Forth says in his research. “The combination of different wastes has an effect on the overall performance and properties of the block. The different properties highlight the flexibility of the new unit to match different practical requirements.’’ Plans also are now under way to develop a “Vegeblock’’, using waste vegetable oil.


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24 Responses to “How About Bitublock ?”

  1. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Linda – I love this idea. Not only would our landfills be saved, but we could truly build a “green” home from the ground up. I was wondering about the incinerated sewage. Does that give the block an odor, or does the firing process get rid of it?

    The ideas people come up with are phenomenal. I do believe, better days are ahead.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Where Or Where Do The Bloggers Go

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … All of the odor and bacteria are killed via the firing process. Therefore, there should be no problem with utilizing bitublocks. I think you will be amazed at what is out there ready for use and yes, better days are ahead. 🙂

  3. Jen Says:

    Sounds like a great idea! It’s about time that started looking into using material like this to help build homes (much better than endlessly cutting down trees.)

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi Jen … One of the many projects that will stop the cutting of trees!!!

  5. Wind Says:

    What a very cool thing! Do they come in different colors, can you just paint over them to change the look or do you drywall and stucco over them like concrete blocks? Not that they aren’t pretty cool to look at like they are! 🙂

    ~Wind
    p.s. Don’t forget the Discovery special tonight 😉

    Winds last blog post..Using the Sun in Florida for Energy? What a Novel Idea….

  6. Linda Says:

    Hi Wind … Yep! you can paint ’em, anything you want. Not sure about colors as they may come out as they look. I am ready for tonite!!!!

  7. Delta Burke Swimwear Says:

    nice post, i had no idea this even existed, its a great idea, i hope it takes off and people can really start reducing their footprint.

  8. whamx.com Says:

    How About Bitublock ? | Forced Green…

    The trash you throw away today may just turn into your future home…

  9. Linda Says:

    Hi Delta Burke Swimwear …. Me too! Folks are really working hard at reducing their footprint and bitublock is another, very useful way to do so. I think it is really cool.

  10. David - green living Says:

    OK, I really like the Vegeblock, hopefully made with soy and other healthful products as well as oil. I imagine that if one was struck with an economic crisis one could break of chunks of the home and have a hearty meal (just add water and steam it).

    Davids last blog post….Deny, Deny, Deny – But Never Look at the Big Picture

  11. wilson Says:

    Linda, it looks like a really tough block. However, it would be better, if the bitublock wasn’t black-in-color…

    wilsons last blog post..To Write or Not To Write?

  12. Linda Says:

    HI David … LOL! sure why not! You would just have to fight off the neighbors. 🙂

  13. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … I do not think that they have a choice on how it comes out of the firing process. I wonder if they added a color like you can in the ceramics world and then fire it to see what colors come out.

  14. Karen Says:

    This would be a wonderful idea! So glad to hear you can paint it.

  15. Linda Says:

    Hi Karen … keeps a lot of crud out of the landfills so I am looking forward to when it will come available to us.

  16. Rich Says:

    Has the Bitublock been used in a practical construction project yet? If so, where and how has it lasted?

  17. Linda Says:

    HI Rich … Yes, it was used for a practical housing build in the United Kingdom with great results. I would estimate about a year ago so no long term study as of yet. However, being that it is 6 times stronger than concrete, I would hedge my bet that it would last 6 times longer than concrete.

  18. Used Car Dealers Says:

    If it really happen so.. this concept will rocks.. even it will be greatly appreciable to be with nature.. then not even the nature disturbs but as well the dirt will get minimized and then it will be helpful in making the commodity clean as well.

  19. Linda Says:

    Hi Used Car … yes it is a viable product and it is being used now.

  20. Used Car Dealers Says:

    Thanks Linda… if these kinda products is being used now.. definitely it will create a revolution in making the city clean which will help in making country clear and out of dirt. The maker made sense by making these kinda products 🙂

  21. Linda Says:

    Hi Used Cars …. We are just waiting to them to bring it to market so that other folks can enjoy these benefits.

  22. Shelby | Heating Elements Says:

    This should have happened long ago, this is a great way to get ride of all that waste that just never seems to disappear, and this way we can also utilize this for the poor communities in building homes for them at a cheaper rate, and its excellent to know that this product is odour and bacteria free.

  23. Linda Says:

    Hi Shelby … Agreed but the good thing is that it is being used now.

  24. Jorge Says:

    This post was from 2009. 4 years later, I wonder what happened to this project? Any follow up?

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