In a bid to offer cheap bricks for those in need and at the same time reducing its carbon footprint, the Boring Company, Elon Musk's tunnel digging venture busy at work under California streets, has announced plans and pricing of bricks made entirely from the dirt dug up by tunnel boring machines (TBM).
Each brick will cost a mere 10 cents a piece. If they are needed for affordable housing projects, they will be supplied free of cost, the company has said. The bricks will go for sale in about two months, reports Inverse. In comparison, price of a brick in the region can cost anywhere between 27 and 30 cents a piece, according to comments in a Reddit thread discussing this plan. The report points out that RemodelingCalculator.com puts brick price estimates anywhere between 34 to 85 cents.
The bricks will reportedly be made of the leftover dirt from projects, helping the company cut back on the carbon emissions that come from concrete production that goes into tunnel construction.
Selling off the bricks is Musk's latest on his plans to revolutionise the entire industry around the digging of tunnels the world over. Plans to start digging tunnels below the streets to relieve people of traffic was announced in May 2017, notes the report. Details about the project came in earlier this year. A test tunnel for the public transportation systems—Loop and Hyperloop is ready for testing, according to the company's website.
The Boring Company has previously stated that concrete production causes about 4.5 percent of greenhouse gas pollution. These bricks, notes the report, should help offset some of this.
Recycling tunnel dirt is, however, not entirely a groundbreaking idea, notes the report. London's Crossrail project used 98 percent of the dirt that it dug up from a 21 km tunnel under the city. That is about 389,068 tonnes of dirt which would have likely ended up as a small hill in a landfill somewhere. New York's Second Avenue Subway also made good use of their tunnel earth by converting it into a golf course, notes the report.
Musk has already said that these Boring bricks will be of high quality and that they will be made to interlock and have a "precise surface finish,". Two people, he said, can build the outer walls of a house by putting in a day's worth of labour, he said. They will be rated based on California seismic loads, he said. The bricks will be hollowed out in the middle like aircraft wings, notes the report so that they will be lighter than standard bricks. The bricks are expected to be shipped all over the world.