PRESS RELEASE: Seratech makes carbon neutral brick prototype from CO2 emissions

London, November 23, 2023 – Seratech, a climate-tech start-up, has produced its first carbon neutral brick prototype following 18 months of research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

By Seratech

11/23/20232 min read

London, November 23, 2023 – Seratech, a climate-tech start-up, has produced its first carbon neutral brick prototype following 18 months of research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).

The brick uses a magnesium carbonate binder that is produced via Seratech’s proprietary carbon capture, mineralisation and utilisation (CCMU) process and allows CO2 emissions from industry flues to be permanently stored within the built environment.

Unlike conventional clay bricks which require firing at over 1200 degrees Celsius and have close to 1 kg of embodied CO2 per brick, Seratech’s brick needs only to be baked at 60 degrees overnight before being left to cure at an ambient temperature for up to two weeks to gain full strength.

Barney Shanks, Chief Technical Officer at Seratech said: “The impact of cement emissions has been well documented but less frequently discussed are the emissions associated with clay fired bricks of which millions are used in the UK every year – take a look at Battersea Power Station!”.

To translate the concept into a commercially viable product Seratech has teamed up with architects Carmody Groarke and have been awarded a Design Exchange Partnership grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The team collaborated with structural engineers AKT II and materials specialists Local Works Studio experimented with different aggregate and additive combinations to improve performance and circularity. However, the brick’s binding agent, magnesium carbonate, remains ‘the star of the show’ and what makes it a viable low carbon solution for the construction industry. Over the coming months, the prototypes will be thoroughly tested to verify their performance against building standards.

Caitlin Howe, Seratech’s Technical Director, added: “It’s wonderful to be working towards something that will hopefully make a difference to carbon emissions in the long run. Knowing there is scope for this product to change the entire industry is incredibly exciting and spurs you on. It really looks and feels like a conventional brick”.

Sian Ricketts, Sustainability Lead at Carmody Groarke said: “We’re really excited for our practice to be working with material scientists who are operating at the top of their game and foster this collaborative process. As architects we see this as incredibly important”.

About Seratech Ltd.

Founded in 2021 by material scientists Sam Draper and Barney Shanks, Seratech is a research and development company specialising in Carbon Capture Mineralisation and Utilisation (CCMU) within the construction industry to replace high volume building materials. Seratech is a spinout from Imperial College London and has been awarded £1.8M in grant funding. In 2022 it won the OBEL AWARD. It is backed by Undaunted, formerly the Centre for Climate Change Innovation.

Barney Shanks, Seratech CTO inspecting the brick. Image credit: AKT II