Renewing Oceans: The Bio-Brick Revolution

Alyssa Cressotti
May 6, 2024
overhead view of garbage in the ocean

In the heart of New York City, amid the bustling streets and towering skyscrapers, Shubham Harishchandra Madhavi ‘24, a graduate student at Pace’s Seidenberg School, is making waves in the fight against climate change. His recent victory in the Project Planet USA contest, securing a $15,000 grant, has propelled his innovative concept into the spotlight, igniting hope for a greener, more sustainable future.

Pace University Seidenberg student, Shubham Harishchandra Madhavi posing with his check.

Through Project Planet USA, an initiative spearheaded by Speedemissions and The Front Yard at Pace University, students and faculty were encouraged to submit their concepts, innovative ideas, or solutions aimed at addressing climate change for a chance to win a cash grant in the amount of $15,000, plus professional mentoring, public relations, and network connections.

So, what does it take to win?

Shubham's winning concept is as ingenious as it is ambitious: bio-bricks harvested from plastic that has made its way into the ocean. These special bio-bricks would be designed to restore coral reefs while combating the looming threat of climate change. “My winning concept revolves around the creation of bio-bricks harvested from ocean plastic, which have the remarkable ability to convert CO2 into coral-restoring nutrients," Shubham explains. “This innovative approach not only addresses the urgent need to tackle plastic pollution in our oceans but also contributes to the restoration of coral reefs, which are vital ecosystems threatened by climate change.”

With the support of the grant and accompanying mentoring, Shubham envisions tangible impacts rippling across oceans and coastlines worldwide. "By removing ocean plastic and converting it into bio-bricks, we directly mitigate the harmful effects of plastic pollution on marine life and ecosystems," he says. But his vision extends far beyond mere mitigation. These bio-bricks, infused with the power to convert CO2 into coral-restoring nutrients, hold the potential to reshape entire ecosystems, bolstering biodiversity and fortifying coastal communities against the ravages of climate change.

“This innovative approach not only addresses the urgent need to tackle plastic pollution in our oceans but also contributes to the restoration of coral reefs, which are vital ecosystems threatened by climate change.”

The grant's resources offer Shubham a network of support—including mentorship—in his quest to bring his proposed idea into fruition. Professional mentoring promises guidance in navigating the turbulent waters of project management, while public relations support amplifies his message, rallying support from partners and funders alike. Network connections pave the way for collaborations, opening doors to a world of opportunities previously beyond reach. "Leveraging the grant's resources is crucial for enhancing the impact and reach of my project," Shubham asserts.

But Shubham's ambitions extend far beyond the confines of the grant period. His long-term goals are as vast as the ocean itself, encompassing the scaling up of bio-brick production, the expansion of the project to distant shores, and the integration of his innovation into existing reef restoration efforts. "Establishing partnerships with local communities, businesses, and governments" is key to sustaining impact, he emphasizes.

As Shubham charts a course towards a greener tomorrow, his journey serves as a beacon of hope in a world besieged by environmental crises. Through unwavering determination and boundless innovation, he proves that even the mightiest challenges can be overcome, one bio-brick at a time.

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