Algae-Based Bio-Block

International Masonry Institute:

This zero-carbon algae-based Bio-Block™ from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Prometheus Materials has the potential to reduce the construction industry's carbon impact.

IMI is delighted to provide constructability feedback and testing for this new and innovative green product as it undergoes continual research and development.

See how skilled International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers members brought Bio-Block™ installations to life at our International Training Center. And learn more about the sustainable solution at this year's Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM):

To address the outsized impact of cement and the building industry on our global carbon emissions, we have partnered with Prometheus Materials to develop an algae-based, zero-carbon alternative to concrete blocks.

Using a photosynthetic process to convert microalgae into a material similar to calcium carbonate, found in coral reefs and oyster shells, Prometheus Materials has created Bio-Block™, a net-zero-carbon bio-concrete block with mechanical, physical, and thermal performance properties comparable or superior to portland cement-based concrete.

Bio-Block™ is in the midst of ongoing performance testing – while available for select projects – as a direct substitute for the carbon-intensive Concrete Masonry Units (CMUs), ubiquitous in modern construction. Most recently, we partnered with the International Masonry Institute to test how easily this material can be substituted in the field for conventional CMUs, shown here.

You can learn more about Bio-Block™ and our work with Prometheus at this year's Chicago Architecture Biennial.