I came across this story on the New Scientist website, which describes how a by-product from the beer brewing process could be used to make bricks with better insulating properties.
The brewing industry produces very large quantities of spent grain as an unwanted by-product, which is usually just sold on as animal feed for a very low price.
Now, researchers from the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar have found that mixing around 5 percent of this grain into the clay mixture produces bricks which proved to be very good at trapping heat, while still retaining the strength of ordinary bricks.
This work could provide a huge boost for the brick industry, as the need for more environmentally-friendly housing is greater than ever, and there are often incentives in place for the use of energy-saving building materials. Moreover, with energy bills constantly on the rise, homeowners will be on the lookout more than ever for more cost-effective living.
Furthermore, finding a more useful application for a by-product of any industry is always a big plus, and breweries will relish the opportunity both to add value to their products and make their businesses more sustainable.