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CIM Students Participate in Interlocking Earth Block Construction Project

Several students from the NJIT CIM program had an opportunity to travel to High Hill, Missouri to participate in the construction of an interlocking compressed earth block “CEB” home. The interlocking system of CEB compressed earth bricks allows for easy Lego-style stacking without the need for mortar. The plan was formulated by Naveed Syed, entrepreneur in sustainable technologies, who reached out to NJIT’s CIM program for assistance in his CEB research. With the help of CIM Patron, Sika Corporation, Syed was able to perform preliminary testing on his CEB system.

Syed also reached out to Renewing Roots Co., headed by David Cackowski. Renewing Roots specializes in sustainable techniques and methods to ensure the least impact on the environment while aiming to produce efficient and low-cost homes for veterans, homeless people, military families, and communities overseas. Both companies have provided an opportunity for Syed and students to be involved in their CEB research and development and also offered the team the opportunity to begin construction of the first Renewing Roots CEB home.

On Tuesday August 14th, Syed and students  traveled to the CEB manufacturing facility in St. Louis where they were briefed on the properties, advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of the material. The students had a chance to build a 160 square foot curing room with CEB. They participated in all the building stages including anchoring steel rebar reinforcement to the foundation, laying a mortar bed, and stacking the blocks. The students broke ground and began the layout of CEB at the actual site where the home will be erected. The students plan to use their experience  to brainstorm innovative ways for streamlining production and develop differing applications of compressed earth blocks for various countries and situations around the world.

What is CEB?   CEB differs from ordinary masonry block in the method it is manufactured and its ingredients. Typical masonry block is made from sand, cement, and water while CEB is made with sand, cement, water and the natural soil found in the vicinity of the construction site.

A major benefit of CEB is that it uses up to seventy-five percent less cement than traditional concrete blocks.  Cement is the most expensive and non-environmentally friendly ingredient in concrete. In addition, CEB earth blocks are compressed together in a manual or hydraulic machine and are able to be handled immediately, as opposed to ordinary concrete which is poured into a form requiring  at least one day to cure before being transported.

Photos of CEB wall system construction: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68318880@N02/sets/72157631080461686/

To learn more about CEB please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_earth_block
To learn more about Renewing Roots initiatives visit: http://www.renewingroots.com/

The following personnel were involved in the CEB project:
David Cackowski: President, Renewing Roots
Jeff Schneider: VP, Renewing Roots
Naveed Syed, CEB System R&D Visionary
Zeghan Malik: Architect
Anlee Orama: CIM Program Specialist
CIM Students: Fabian DeLaHOz, Majile McCray, Gagan Singh, Tyler Hanson


Announcing New Trade Association

07/25/12  Em[POWER] Energy Group is pleased to announce the formation of the first trade association in the world dedicated to large-scale production of the aquatic plant Lemnoideae, more commonly known as duckweed. The group, International Lemna Association, (ILA) seeks to bring duckweed and other aquatic species to the limelight of sustainable crops that out-produce terrestrial crops for protein and starches, while remediating water sources that are unfit for land crop use, such as municipal and industrial wastewater.

Tamra Fakhoorian, co-founder of the ILA said,”We wish to thank em[POWER] for their support in our organization’s formation. Em[POWER] recognizes duckweed’s untapped potential as a high quality protein and starch source for animal feed, bioplastics, fertilizers, and wastewater remediation. Duckweed is a win/win for our global efforts of sustainable aqua-cropping and animal production.”

Ryan Integlia, co-founder of ILA observed, “Many of our members previously worked in the algae arena and when confronted with ongoing issues of harvesting and robustness, discovered the many benefits of duckweed as an alternative. Farmers in several developing countries already grow and harvest duckweed as a part of their integrated farming systems. The time is right for duckweed production to be expanded on a larger scale to remediate the massive nutrient loads in our current waste water systems and produce value-added products for a wide range of applications.”

Duckweed and Wolffia species are the smallest vascular, flowering plants on the planet and are found world-wide with the exception of Antarctica. They are known to double their mass every 24-48 hours, producing up to 60 dry tons per acre in optimal circumstances. Wolffia holds the record for the smallest flowers in the world, only 0.3mm in length.

For more information, visit www.InternationalLemnaAssociation.com .


Congratulations to our em[PURE] team!

Congratulations to our team working on the em[PURE] endeavor (our water purification to energy project)! They have been selected to present as Semi-Finalists in the TigerLaunch Competition at Princeton University.

Good luck team, you’ll do great!


em[POWER] once again to be featured in a working session at CGIU!

Congrats to the team once again for being selected to be featured in a working session at CGI U!! It is our second year in a row!


“Your commitment was selected from a large pool of student commitments as an exemplary approach to addressing a specific global challenge.” – CGI


Thanks to everyone for all the support and we look forward to telling you all about CGIU this year!


Congrats to the em[POWER] team!!

Congrats to the team and Rutgers Student Chapter! We’ve been selected to attend the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 in Washington, DC for the 3rd Year in a Row!

Clinton Global Initiative University: “After reviewing hundreds of progress reports, we have identified your commitment as one of the most outstanding. Given the scope of your commitment and your dedication to action, we would potentially like to present your commitment to attendees at CGI U this year.”

We are proud of our team and excited for this excellent opportunity!

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