Written by guest blogger: Caroline Laughlin
The Introduction to Sustainable Materials and Technology class (SMT 200) took a field trip to bioMASON this Fall, as part of their learning experience. bioMASON is a technology company that develops bricks and aesthetic masonry products using biotic based materials and processes. Their patented, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and procedures enable them to experiment with this new technology in a sustainable manner. bioMASON is the future in sustainable building materials and an example of a zero carbon company.
An Inside Look at bioMASON
Unfortunately, due to technology patents and competition, the class was not able to take pictures of the inside of bioMASON’s plant.
bioMASON’s plant is expectedly small. They sell their technology to other, bigger companies, rather than trying to expand into a full manufacturing facility. They are currently focused on improving their techniques––from the initial bioCEMENT to their brick strength testing. They use microorganisms in order to achieve their product. The company founders were inspired by coral reefs and are trying to use biomimicry to achieve a strong and sustainable material for human buildings. These microorganisms are the “glue” for aggregate the company receives. bioMASON gets their aggregate from mine waste. This is a cost and waste effective way to get their starting material, which is incredibly revolutionary in the materials business. bioMASON takes advantage of the sun’s heat (when appropriate) in order to dry the aggregate after it has been cleaned. This also makes the process able to be more carbon free.
One huge thing bioMASON said they needed to work on was non-destructive strength tests. These tests have to be done in order to be kept up to standard, even though bioMASON products are naturally stronger than regular cement and bricks used today. These current tests unfortunately have to use the bioMASON bricks and crush them to figure out the strength they have. bioMASON is currently working on a way to figure out the strength of their bricks without having to render them unusable by crushing them.
Culture Inside bioMASON
bioMASON’s team seems very close and versatile. One of the tour guides said that she has to wear many hats in order to support this small company.Immense teamwork and the ability to multitask and wear “many hats” is needed to be able to work at bioMASON. The inside of the plant was painted various colors of sea green or light blue, which gave a calming tone to the building itself. Many inspirational quotes were displayed on some walls, possibly as a source of encouragement. Everyone who was working that day seemed very content and eager to be there, and is motivated by the drive to help mitigate climate change and be sustainable as possible.
bioMASON is definitely worth it to look into for internships or even to visit. They are extremely conscious of their environmental output and footprint, and seeing such a revolutionary company be zero carbon is a huge inspiration.