July 17, 2015
The Kgalagadi Sand Building Block Open Day on 15th July 2015. The objective of the Open Day was to showcase the KSBB Technology and increase the organisation’s efforts to roll out the KSBB into the market. The guests were taken through a demonstration of the KSBB Technology, toured the Building Materials Testing Facility and viewed the KSBB demo house.
The Kgalagadi Sand Building Block (KSBB) is made by blending fly ash (which is a by-product of combustion of coal to generate electricity), Kgalagadi sand which occurs not only in the Kgalagadi region, but also in most parts of Botswana and a small quantity of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) to create the KSB bricks and blocks.
Prof Goitseone Malumbela, Senior Researcher Building Materials Science at BITRI gave an overview of the KSBB technology. Prof Malumbela said KSBB is a less expensive but high quality building product that provides an alternative to the high costs of construction materials for individuals and businesses. He noted that it contributes towards recycling otherwise harmful local by-products and has the potential to create business opportunities along the value chain for entrepreneurs and create employment for both skilled and low-skilled cadres.
“The economic benefit of using a blended cement from our fly ash is massive. For example a 50kg bag of this blend can have as high as 32.5kg fly ash i.e 65% of it is fly ash and 35% is OPC. Using of this blend will translate to a saving of about P13 per 50kg bag,” added Prof Malumbela as he demonstrated the cost effectiveness of KSBB as opposed to other masonry units.
The invited guests were impressed with the project after their guided tours and the information they got on the project. Mr Yan Bao Sheng, a representative from China Building Material Corporation was particularly fascinated with the project.
“I am very intrigued with this project because they use the sand from the Kalahari and waste materials generated by the extraction of coal and these waste materials can be very harmful to human beings and the environment I think right now BITRI utilizing the materials is very good and this project as a whole is very intriguing” Mr Sheng commented.
Other officials from the public sector also shared their excitement towards the project. The Coordinator of the Poverty Eradication Unit under the Office of the President, Mr Olebile Gaborone referred to the KSBB as one of the best innovations in Botswana and he continued on to say “This project is going to be of great benefit to the construction industry in Botswana as it uses our local raw materials and Batswana should see it as a very important innovation”.
Director Innovation & Sector Support Division (ISS), LEA Mr Lesitamang Paya said that the KSBB is an innovation that will be addressing the serious problem of harvesting sand in local rivers which is an issue that communities and government are fighting.
Mr Paya further said, “I believe that as players in the construction industry we should all join hands so that in the end the construction industry in Botswana uses this product and for once we shouldn’t worry about importing so much cement and raw materials from outside the country.”
The KSBB products (blocks and bricks) meet masonry standards as specified by the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) and use locally-available materials. Interested stakeholders are invited to contact BITRI regarding mixture proportions suitable for different areas in Botswana.