Wealth from Waste: IIT-H inaugurates building made of bio-bricks

Hyderabad: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Hyderabad on Thursday inaugurated India’s first building made of bio-bricks from agro-waste, the plan for which was developed by a research scholar by the name Priyabatra Rautray.

The director of IIT-H BS Murthy has called the construction a perfect example of “Wealth from waste” and stated that the institute will submit a proposal to the Ministry of Agriculture to promote the adoption of the same by rural communities.

Researchers at the IIT used agricultural waste and converted it into sustainable materials which would then be used to construct eco-friendly, cost-effective buildings. In April this year, the team secured a patent for the bio-brick material and its manufacturing technology.

The technology developed by the scholar was carried out under the supervision of Professor Deepak John Mathew at the Department of Design.

The bio-brick technology was developed to counter air pollution caused by stubble burning. “Bio-bricks are economical and are found to be 1/8 and 1/10 of weight for similar volume compared to burnt clay bricks and concrete blocks, respectively.

Compared to burnt clay bricks, bio-bricks will cost about Rs 2-3 when mass-produced. Farmers can make this material at the site and further reduce labour costs and in turn, add to the income of marginal farmers.

According to the researchers, the material exhibits excellent thermal insulation and fire-retardant properties. When used in roofing and wall panelling, it can effectively reduce heat gain by 5 – 6 degrees. They realised that generation of ago-waste in the country was huge while the demand for regular bricks was growing exponentially, leading to the loss of fertile topsoil and more air pollution. “I sincerely hope farmers and villagers adopt this technology to build their homes,” Rautray said.

As part of the BUILD (Bold Unique Idea Lead Development) project to demonstrate the strength and versatility of the material, a prototype of a guard cabin was designed and executed by the team on space allocated on the campus. The building made of bio-bricks is supported by a metal framework.