These buoyant seabricks enable construction on water
Seabrick, a company in Canada, is building blocks out of seaweed that could be the foundation for a floating asset in the seas. The simple floating brick could herald a new way of life on the abundant waters of the planet.
With rising sea levels, cities, and even countries are at risk of submerging. Last year, Interesting Engineering reported that the ambitious Maldives Floating City (MFC) project has officially begun after spending more than a decade in its planning stage. However, instead of relying on carbon-emitting concrete for a floating hull, Seabrick aims to sequester carbon using its seaweed-based floating blocks.
How can Seabricks help?
According to its website, Seabrick is a brick system that can interlock to make a platform, much like Lego does with plastic. Seabrick uses kelp from the seas, which makes it buoyant too. The other ingredient required for the bricks is pelagic clay which covers 38 percent of the ocean floors.
Another alternative ingredient for the sea brick is sargassum, a brown macroalga that routinely overgrows in coastal waters, causing trouble for local habitats. While governments and non-governmental organizations have been spending time and money on cleaning up sargassum from coastal waters, Seabrick's usage will not only clean up these waters but also provide a source of revenue for communities affected by them.
Producing kelp and sargassum also help sequester carbon from the atmosphere and can be up to 20 times more effective than forests on land. By using them in the production of sea bricks, the company is locking away the sequestered carbon for years together.
Compared to floating concrete constructions, using sea bricks is estimated to reduce costs by 72 percent while producing lesser carbon emissions. Compared wot aluminum pontoons, the cost savings are even higher at 83 percent. While emitting 2.2 tons less carbon into the atmosphere for every ton of aluminum used, the Seasteading Institute, an organization looking to overcome the concept of a nation-state by building over international waters, said on its website.
Seabricks could give individuals the autonomy to build their structures at sea and join communities of like-minded people by simply moving their floating assets to a new group. Although nitty gritty concepts still need to be worked out, the technology could also help build sustainable marine infrastructure while supporting green energy projects like offshore wind, tidal and solar plants.
The technology could also help us move from the extraction-based economy we are currently using to a regenerative one, where used kelp can be easily regenerated.