You're fired: The greening of brick manufacturing

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: energy management

Made from Mother Nature’s resources — clay and water — brick has always been an inherently green building material. The same could not always be said for the manufacturing of brick. To fire brick clay at extreme temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the process requires fuel most commonly found through drilling or mining. However, Boral Bricks Inc., the largest manufacturer and distributor of masonry products, is leading the brick industry in the development of environmentally friendly manufacturing technologies.


At Boral manufacturing plants, renewable resources like sawdust and agricultural waste are being used as a fuel source or as a body additive. For example, by injecting clay mixtures with sawdust, Boral is able to fire the mixture from within. The sawdust is activated when the clay is being fired, thus heating the brick from the inside out — as opposed to from outside-in — ultimately creating a hardened brick, while conserving energy.


“We have found that using natural additives will help minimize excess carbon dioxide release to the atmosphere, which can be hazardous,” said Charlie McNeil, vice president of research and development, Boral Bricks. “The biomass material Boral uses is releasing the same carbon dioxide product it would have naturally, even if it had not been used in our plants.”


Boral’s adoption of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) at its plants in Union City, Okla., and Terre Haute, Ind., further highlights the company’s commitment to green manufacturing processes. LMOP emphasizes the use of methane gas as a renewable, green energy source. At the two aforementioned plants, Boral is piping from landfills the methane that develops from rotting garbage. That gas is used to generate energy, offsetting Boral’s use of fossil fuels which are gathered by drilling.


“We are proud that Boral has achieved green manufacturing in 20 percent of our plants,” McNeil said. “Brick is naturally green, so it makes sense to utilize environmentally sensitive technologies to create the material, while minimizing negative impacts to the environment.”

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