A technique developed at the University of Leeds that makes carbon-negative bricks from waste materials is featured in a new report on the social and economic benefits of academic research.
The process, developed by Dr John Forth in the School of Civil Engineering, uses vegetable oil-based binders and waste aggregates to make the eco-friendly building materials. Encos Ltd., a University of Leeds' spin-out company, is now developing products for the commercial market.
Dr Forth's work is picked out as an example of a successful university spin-out in the report, published by the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The report and an accompanying film, underlining the pay-offs for society and the economy of supporting long-term research in research-intensive universities, were launched at an event in central London attended by Vince Cable, secretary of state for business innovation, on Wednesday evening.
Dr Forth said he was delighted that his work was being used to underline the usefulness of academic research.
"I have worked in the construction industry for 30 years and I am committed to improving the sustainability of construction. When these products go to market next year, there will be a significant reduction of waste to landfill and of CO2 emissions," he said.
Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, said: "University research does not only benefit the economy – however important that may be at the current time. Research, in its many guises, can transform our lives and reach areas we may never have thought of. The environmental benefits of Dr John Forth's work in Leeds could be enormous."
The University of Leeds is a member of the Russell Group, which represents 24 leading research-intensive universities in the UK.
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More information: russellgroup.org/SocialImpactOfResearch.pdf