Growing bricks with bacteria

social entrepreneurs ginger dosier

BioMASON started out as a science experiment, according to Ginger Dosier, who found a way to "grow" bricks similar to how coral reefs are formed.

Dosier, a former architect, was interested in sustainable construction materials but "noticed there wasn't a lot to choose from."

Between 2005 and 2007, while teaching at North Carolina State University, Dosier discovered a type of bacteria that turned into cement when mixed with sand, nutrients and calcium.

Traditional masonry uses clay and fire to create bricks, and it's far from eco-friendly.

"There are over a trillion bricks made this way globally every year," she said. "That's lot of energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions."

Her method is a green alternative.

Dosier founded Raleigh-based bioMason in 2012. Since then, she's raised nearly $1 million in grants and funding. The startup has six employees and is working with its first customer: a company in California that wants to use the bricks for a courtyard.

First published May 22, 2015: 1:40 PM ET

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