Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A new brick, 3,000 years in the making

AlphaNinja - Zero original content here, but a really interesting concept. Cost-effective, green, and not even subsidized!

Silicon Valley reinvents the lowly brick

NEWARK, California (Reuters) - Forget microchips.

Silicon Valley sees a profitable future in the humble brick thanks to a low-energy production process that illustrates the greening of the U.S. technology capital.

"We think it is time for a second industrial revolution," said Paul Holland, a partner at Foundation Capital, which invested $7 million in Calstar. EnerTech Capital led another round that raised $8 million for the business.

"We and dozens of others are trying to create green alternatives for all the things that happen in the building industry," Holland said.

Currently about 40 percent of U.S. energy use goes toward the heating, cooling and general operation of buildings.

Bricks have been made pretty much the same way for 3,000 years, until Calstar's scientists came up with their new technique, said Chief Executive Michael Kane.

Ordinary bricks are fired for 24 hours at 2,000 degrees F (1,093 C) as part of a process that can last a week, while Calstar bricks are baked at temperatures below 212 F (100 C) and take only 10 hours from start to finish, Kane said.

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