Sustainable brick inventor
to pitch his design at COP28

University for the Creative Arts (UCA) architecture student Kongphat Phaiboonnukulkij is at the COP28 global climate conference in Dubai, which runs till 12 December, to pitch his innovative new brick design to industry professionals.

01 Dec 2023

Entrepreneur Kongphat, who is studying BA (Hons) Architecture at UCA Canterbury, is there to represent his tech start-up Phytavaren Technology as its inventor and chief technology officer. He has created an Interlocking Semi-Calcite Brick, which won the 2023 This is Cool Challenge, run by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

UNFCCC, COP28 on 3 Nov 2023. Around the venue. Photo by Kiara Worth

As one of the four winners, Kongphat and his start-up received a cash prize to support the implementation or scale-up of his design and the opportunity to attend Youth Day at COP28 in a few days time, where he will pitch his idea live to a network of global cooling partners and compete to win a grand prize.

“I'm keen on exploring opportunities that allow me to make a meaningful impact on the built environment,” said Kongphat. “Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of design, efficiency, and environmental responsibility.”

The brick is revolutionary because it’s made from materials from a closed-loop system – shells, waste glass from shores and riverbanks and restaurants, and plastics. This is a more sustainable system, as it can be converted back into its raw materials at the end of life and used again in the manufacturing process.

© Kongphat Phaiboonnukulkij

The brick is also low energy, providing insulation against external heat and providing a passive cooling function, which is especially useful in hot and humid or hot and dry climates. So, using minimal energy, the design can effectively regulate temperature, improving the life of people living in those environments and the climate as a whole.

Its clever design, including an interlocking feature, also means the assembly process is easier, quicker and uses less plaster in its construction.

“There are two questions I ask whenever I get the chance to talk with civil engineers and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers,” he said. “Firstly, ‘What is the biggest problem in your industry and secondly, ‘How would you solve this problem’ – this is how I came up with my idea.”

During his time at UCA, Kongphat learned skills he could apply to his start-up, including computational design and time management. He also won UCA’s Creative Enterprise Challenge in the Enterprise in a Start-Up category, winning £1,000 for his company.

©  Kongphat Phaiboonnukulkij

Looking ahead, Kongphat is driven by his passion for continued growth and impactful contributions to architecture, design and sustainable technology.

“My goal is to bridge the gap between innovative design and sustainable technology, potentially leading or contributing to projects that redefine the way we approach construction and environmental sustainability,” he said.

To learn more about studying architecture at UCA, visit the course pages.

To read about the winners of the 2023 This is Cool Challenge, visit the SEforALL website.

To learn more about the COP28, visit the official website.

Kongphat Phaiboonnukulkij