Elon Musk has had an ecological brain wave. The tech entrepreneur announced on Monday plans to use the tunneling rock leftover from The Boring Company’s projects to create “Lego-like interlocking bricks.” These can be used for new sculptures and buildings, with a super strength rated for California seismic loads, but a bored middle like an aircraft wing spar to reduce weight.
The plan, announced on Twitter, is the latest in Musk’s social media postings about his newest startup revealed in December 2016. It’s not the first time rock has been re-used from tunnel digging — 98 percent of the 389,068 tonnes of material from London’s Crossrail project has been diverted from landfill — but the plan shows positive steps toward managing The Boring Company’s ecological impact. The interlocking bricks will have a “precise surface finish” that enables two people to build the outer walls of a new house in just one day. Musk revealed the first set will be themed around ancient Egypt, with deliveries reaching worldwide.
It’s the latest in a line of promising announcements for The Boring Company, originally founded to resolve traffic congestion in Los Angeles. Beyond a tunnel that links the international airport to the rest of Los Angeles, the company is also in the preparation stages for three more projects: Hawthorne, Chicago, and a hyperloop-compatible service running from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore.
Musk also guaranteed the bricks will be “flamethrower-proof,” in a nod to the company’s $600 fire-spilling rifle merchandise. The product was seemingly inspired by ‘80s sci-fi comedy Spaceballs, which also provided the inspiration for the overall merchandise-based distribution model and the turbocharged performance modes in the latest Tesla cars. The flamethrower is set to start shipping in May.
While the company has a number of projects in the works, it’s unclear when the bricks will start shipping. There’s plenty of material already from pilot projects — a video released last week showed a Tesla Model X pulling 250,000 pounds out of a test tunnel — but it could be a while before the firm’s next product hits virtual shelves.
Whether The Boring Company’s bricks inspire a wave of third-party projects, similar to how the hyperloop white paper in 2013 kickstarted a new industry, remains to be seen.