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This New Machine Recycles Construction Waste into Reusable Materials

The biocycler is a machine that would create bricks by making use of living organisms, which bind pre-existing construction waste.

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Carbon emissions are one of the environmental problems our world is currently facing today. This is why Christopher Maurer, Principal Architect with Cleveland-based redhouse studio, thought of a groundbreaking method to help lessen the environmental consequences that are brought on by the actions of the construction industry, since buildings contribute to a large percentage of total carbon emissions. He created the Biocycler.

Source: Biocycler, YouTube

The biocycler is a machine that would create bricks which can be used for new structures by making use of living organisms (cultured bio-binders), which bind the pre-existing construction waste.

Source: Biocycler, Kickstarter

Maurer and his team began collaborating in 2017, with NASA on possible applications for the bio-machine in space. At NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Maurer delivered a talk titled “Stronger, Faster, Better: New Materials for a New Age” in August 2017, and a few months later with the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative. The process involves, “embedding mycelium (the vegetative part of fungi, with masses of branching, thread-like hyphae) in agricultural waste to make robust building material.”

An Example of Converted Building Materials. Source: Biocycler, Kickstarter

According to Maurer, this project was also a way of expanding on work he was already doing.

“We do many projects that are adaptive reuse to preserve old buildings, but even then the demolition waste can be quite extensive,” he said. In addition to this, he also teamed up with Kent State University for the design/re-build project, which is an initiative that is designed to transform old structures into renovated gems. There, they were able to see upclose the effects after the end of a house restoration project. “We dropped the material ourselves at the landfill,” Maurer said. “[Disposing of the waste in this way] was hard to do but there was no economically feasible way to use the materials.”

Redhouse has launched a Kickstarter campaign to generate funding for this project. “Truth be told, we’re already recycling buildings, or at least materials. The Kickstarter will lead to a mobile unit to put these processes on display and get closer to building entire structures out of the waste.”

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Cielo Santos

Engineer. Writer. Artist. Gamer. Musician. She dreams of building a time machine and help kittens take over the world. Is secretly the pink power ranger in real life.


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