Sargablock Harvests Sargassum for Building Bricks

Seagriculture EU 2024
Sargablock Harvests Sargassum for Building Bricks

Sargablock, based in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, creates stunning houses out of a harmful strain of seaweed.

by Jeremiah Budin/Yahoo! News

Omar Vazquez has created a business out of a substance that most people consider to be just a nuisance. “I wanted to mold something good out of something bad,” says Vazquez, AKA “Mr. Sargassum.” So, he created a company called Sargablock.

Based in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Sargablock harvests sargassum that has washed up on beaches and turns it into sturdy, durable bricks that are then used for construction projects.

While sargassum can decompose and dissipate into ocean water with no adverse human impacts, when it washes up on land, it begins to rot, producing hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. These gases result in a rotten egg smell that can drive away tourists and beachgoers as well as also can cause breathing problems for people with asthma.

Researchers have been observing abnormally large sargassum blooms since 2011, with the problem essentially getting worse each year. Some beaches have experienced sargassum pileups that grow to six feet tall. Scientists have speculated that the increased blooms are a result of pollution.

Vazquez has been able to take that problem and turn it into an opportunity. Hotels pay him and his crew to remove the sargassum from their beaches. They then mix the dried seaweed with dirt that has been repurposed from construction sites and mix the combination with water to form a paste. The process results in bricks that are about 40% sargassum.

Seagriculture USA 2024
AlgaeMetrics
Contact Phil Ganz

Subscribe

Breaking-News

  • June 21, 2024: The invasion of sargassum has put lives and livelihoods at risk — generating toxic gasses, smelly tap water, job losses, and much more. Anyone who has spent some time on one of South Florida’s beaches knows that they are easily in the firing line. That’s why the Miami-Dade Innovation Authority created a public innovation challenge to help combat the sargassum onslaught — and perhaps put it to productive use. READ MORE...
  • June 19, 2024: Scottish Sea Farms has joined a seaweed growing venture in a project that combines salmon and kelp farming on Loch Spelve in the Sound of Mull. The intention of the year-long pilot is to enrich and replenish the marine environment while minimizing any impact from farming activities. READ MORE...
  • June 17, 2024: The ALEHOOP project, funded by the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking, has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of sustainable plant-based protein extraction. The project has developed pilot-scale biorefineries that recover low-cost dietary proteins from algae and plant-based biomass. READ MORE...
  • June 14, 2024: Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed microscopic robots, known as microrobots, capable of swimming through the lungs to deliver cancer-fighting medication directly to metastatic tumors. This approach has shown promise in mice, where it inhibited the growth and spread of tumors that had metastasized to the lungs, thereby boosting survival rates compared to control treatments. READ MORE...

Algae Europe 2024

A Beginner’s Guide