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Living bricks can generate energy in the house

The Active Living Infrastructure Controlled Environment (ALICE) consortium have created a new type of brick that could revolutionise heating and replace the need for fossil fuels in homes. 

The prototype brings together several aspects of bio-digital research. Together it creates a living, breathing and energy-generating system that can simultaneously supply power to your home while also talking to you through augmented reality.

The base of the prototype is a wall of ‘living bricks’ which can form entire walls and structures. These bricks contain microbes that use liquid waste to generate energy, which can then be turned into electricity and clean water.

A digital overlay of the information gathered from conversations with the microbial life in each brick is then displayed back to the household using augmented reality.

Professor Rachel Armstrong, Coordinator on the ALICE project from Newcastle University said: ‘This project 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 sustainable future for all.’

Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, executive chair of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UKRI, said:  ‘This is a really revolutionary project which could change our residential environment and have a significant impact on how we power our homes in the future. EPSRC is proud to have funded the early investments that led to this work.

‘The results published today are a great example of a collaborative effort in tackling a key issue of the 21st century and should be celebrated as both an achievement for the future of sustainable living and an accomplishment of the science intrinsic to engineering biology.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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