Scottish Government minister visits Edinburgh firm behind new sustainable brick

THE Scottish Government’s cabinet minister for business, trade, tourism, and enterprise has visited Kenoteq’s new commercial factory under development in East Lothian.

Ivan McKee was keen to hear the story of the cleantech startup and spin-out from Heriot Watt University, which has developed a method of recycling construction and demolition waste into a recomposed construction brick using low energy processes.

The firm explained that the K-briq can be used as a facing brick within new or refurbished buildings. Furthermore, at future demolition stages, the K-briq can be recovered and recycled back into new K-briqs.

Professor Gabriela Medero, co-founder of Kenoteq, commented,  “Mr McKee was really interested in hearing about the potential for the innovative K-briq. We discussed our positive impact on the local waste and construction supply chains as well as the green jobs that Kenoteq is creating within the new company and safeguarding within our supply chain partners.

“He was highly supportive of our international patents and international roll-out strategy, ensuring that Scotland can play a key part in cleantech technologies and helping other countries – as well as our own – accelerate their journey to zero carbon.”

20 tonnes of construction and demolition waste will be processed daily at the new commercial production plant, due to be fully operational and supplying the Scottish and UK markets with certified K-briqs by late 2022, a carbon positive solution for Scotland where around 85% of bricks are currently imported.

Kenoteq said the K-briq has 90% less embodied carbon than traditional clay and concrete bricks yet competes soundly on technical specification and pricing levels. It produces a tenth of the CO2 emissions of a traditional fired brick and requires less than a tenth of the energy in its manufacture.

The new manufacturing facility was awarded £1 million funding in May 2021 through the circular economy investment fund, which is administered by Zero Waste Scotland, but funded by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund. The funding also allows the company to create 15 new jobs in manufacturing, production, quality assurance, marketing and sales roles during the next five years.

Sam Chapman, co-founder and MD of Kenoteq, added, “It is fantastic to see the appetite for the K-briq in its many possible shapes, forms and colours. Architects, designers, sustainability specialists, engineers, construction companies and clients have all been stepping forward with their plans for specifying the bricks. It will be fantastic to see the first buildings featuring the K-briq going up next year.”