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Construction material made from sewage sludge

Sewage sludge is being turned into a carbon neutral construction material that could replace traditional clay and concrete bricks, in a new project by Yorkshire Water.

At Knostrop waste water treatment works in Leeds, incinerated sewage is turned into carbon neutral bricks ad blocks that can be used in place of clay and concrete bricks. Ash from incinerated sludge is combined with vegetable-oil-based binders to create the product, which is currently at the testing stage.

Leeds University spin-out company Encos devised the scheme, which Yorkshire Water says “aims to reduce the environmental impact of construction by providing an alternative to traditional cement, which is responsible for around 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions”.

Yorkshire Water innovation development manager Jon Brigg said the product could contribute toward reducing the embedded carbon cost of projects where it is used. The product is classed as carbon negative because the plants used to make the vegetable oil have absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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