Smart bricks capable of recycling wastewater and generating electricity from sunlight are being developed by a team of scientists from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). The bricks will be able to fit together and create ‘bioreactor walls’ which could then be incorporated in housing, public building and office spaces
The UWE Bristol team is working on the smart technologies that will be integrated into the bricks in this pan European ‘Living Architecture’ (LIAR) project led by Newcastle University. The LIAR project brings together living architecture, computing and engineering to find a new way to tackle global sustainability issues.
The smart living bricks will be made from bio-reactors filled with microbial cells and algae. Designed to self-adapt to changing environmental conditions the smart bricks will monitor and modify air in the building and recognise occupants.
Each brick will contain Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) containing a variety of micro-organisms specifically chosen to clean water, reclaim phosphate, generate electricity and facilitate the production of new detergents, as part of the same process.
The MFCs that will make up the living engine of the wall of smart bricks will be able to sense their surroundings and respond to them through a series of digitally coordinated mechanisms.
Professor Andrew Adamatzky, LIAR Project Director for UWE Bristol, is leading the UWE Bristol team, he said, “The technologies we are developing aim to transform the places where we live and work enabling us co-live with the building.
The University of the West of England (also known as UWE Bristol, or simply UWE) is a university located near the city of Bristol, United Kingdom.
Its main campus is at Frenchay near Bristol, about five miles (8 km) north of the city centre and close to the M32 motorway.
UWE also has campuses at St Matthias and Glenside in north-east Bristol and Bower Ashton, near Ashton Court in south-west Bristol. There is also a regional centre at Gloucester Docks, Gloucestershire, and an associate faculty (Hartpury College) specialising in animal behaviour and welfare, agricultural and sports related courses in Hartpury, Gloucestershire.
With around 25,000 students and 3,000 academic staff, UWE is the larger of the two universities in Bristol (the longer established University of Bristol has approximately 18,000 students).
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