Albertan Fredrick von Engelhardt was given a challenge in the late 1950s, and asked
to develop bricks made of industrial waste products. After experimenting
with more than 200 materials, he found two suitable for making high
quality bricks: flyash, a byproduct of industrial thermal power plants;
and tailingdam, a byproduct from mining operations.
An excellent example of innovative recycling, von Engelhardt's brick
composition was environmentally friendly and economically profitable.
During this period, bricks were made primarily with clay, and finding clay
for bricks was expensive. Clay extraction involved finding and purchasing
clay beds, which were becoming scarce. Also, clay production required
heavy equipment for extraction and trucking operations for transportation.
By using flyash and tailingdam, von Engelhardts production method did not
require clay extraction, saving a great deal of money and reducing the
ecological impact. At the time, disposal sites for flyash and tailingdam
were dwindling and these waste materials were, therefore, compared to the
costs for clay very inexpensive.
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