From ash to brick

Written by | Innovation, Lista 1

From ash to brick

Two young Palestinian engineers turn debris from the local conflict into a product for strong, inexpensive and eco-friendly reconstruction – and are hoping to build a proper factory thanks to Indiegogo

Majd Al-Masharawy and Rawan Abddllaht are two young civil engineers who graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza. They had the idea of employing the abundance of ashes and rubble left lying on the ground in the Gaza Strip to produce the GreenCake brick. Cutting production times and costs is a must for companies worldwide today. This is even more so when you live in a place that has been at war for ten years, constantly under siege and subject to the blocks and checks imposed by Israel to monitor the construction of tunnels or importation of weapons by Hamas. The situation is aggravated by a growing demand for bricks with which to rebuild the houses destroyed by bombing but a lack of government funds. The idea of using what was to hand was the first step for Majd and Rawan who exploited their intuition and expertise to develop the right mix for a good quality product.

Their secret ingredient, discovered after more than six months’ research, was ash, of which more than seven tons is produced in the Gaza Strip every week. Thanks to it, the new GreenCake bricks weigh and cost half as much as traditional ones, as well as being more resistant (especially to fire). The first move towards production came thanks to the startup incubator Mobaderoon III which enabled them to make the right contacts and create the first prototype. Coming 70th (out of more than 5,000 participants) among the finalists of the MIT competition in Boston for the best Arab startups also boosted GreenCake and winning first prize in the Japan Gaza Innovation Challenge in August 2016 further motivated the two young Palestinians to pursue their undertaking. They built their first brick construction in Gaza in September 2016. The latest stage in this upward path was the launch of a funding campaign on Indiegogo, aimed at attracting 55,000 dollars to improve and promote their product, and purchase new machinery to speed up production and satisfy the many requests.

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Last modified: 7 March 2017