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World's first CO2-negative bricks to roll out of Belgian factory early 2024

When produced on an industrial scale, bricks are fired in gas-powered kilns at temperatures of over 1000°C. It's a highly energy-intensive process with substantial CO2 emissions, which is why Belgian manufacturer Vandersanden is doing a 180 with its new (and aptly named) Pirrouet. A family business and one of Europe's largest brick producers, Vandersanden's new building material won't just reduce emissions but will be carbon-negative.

Instead of being fired in kilns, Pirouett bricks are cured in airtight, CO2-filled climate chambers for 48 hours. Using waste products from the steel industry and just 20% primary raw materials, the bricks are made through a process whereby carbon dioxide is permanently bound to calcium. Per metric ton of bricks, 60 kg of CO2 is captured and stored.

While other manufacturers have introduced carbon-negative building blocks, the Pirouett appears to be the world's first to match traditional clay bricks in form and function. Vandersanden's new factory is currently under construction, set to roll out its premier batch of bricks in early 2024. Most of the energy required for production will be generated through an on-site wind turbine and solar panels.

Trend Bite

According to UN-Habitat, the world needs to build 96,000 new affordable homes every day for an estimated 3 billion people needing access to adequate housing by 2030. Meanwhile, construction materials account for approximately 9% of all energy-related CO2 emissions. Which means many more companies like Vandersanden will need to radically change their methods. Who's next?!