January 11, 2017

Innovation and Ingenuity

Barmco Mana McMurray applauds innovation and ingenuity in construction and beyond. Here are some that caught the eye of one of our partners recently:

 Growing bricks with bioMASON: bioMASON is a recent start-up in the US which grew out of a prize-winning design for bricks which are grown (low environmental impact) as opposed to the traditional fired (high environmental impact).


Coral was the inspiration for these bricks, which employ micro-organisms to generate custom-size masonry, bypassing the need for firing and incorporating other features, such as insulation, and in some cases able to be manufactured on site.

Barmco Mana McMurray appreciates the possibilities of such technology and wonders if other applications could arise—possibly for use in water reticulation filtering or heat sinks. bioMASON employs individuals from a wide range of disciplines in order to meet challenges from as many perspectives as possible, so it will be interesting to monitor their developments. Their website is worth a look at

Solar cell technology at the University of New South Wales: With sustainable, affordable power supply in the news recently, development of a new solar cell configuration by engineers at UNSW, supported by a grant from ARENA, is welcome news.

The device has raised the sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency rate to 34.5%, a milestone close to theoretical limits. The cell’s particular configuration is not designed for domestic use, but is ideal for solar towers producing commercial quantities of electricity. Read more about this innovation here.

Flexible OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes): In the last decade most of the IT devices we use every day have slimmed down to proportions undreamed of at the turn of the century. Gone are bulky, clunky computers, TVs and phones. And there is more to come: OLEDs, a kind of electroluminescent sandwich, hold the promise of TV and computer screens that can be rolled away when not in use, or applied to curved surfaces such as car windscreens. Maybe the day will come when the solar cell engineers from UNSW can get together with the OLED designers and produce wrap-around solar cells! Read more about OLEDs (and PHOLEDs, TOLEDs, FOLEDs and WOLEDs) at


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