A ground-breaking plant is being set up in Newcastle, the first site in the world to turn carbon emissions directly into bricks and pavers for construction.

The technology could be retrofitted to virtually any coal-fired power plant in the world and used to safely dispose of harmful emission in the form of materials for the building industry.

The University of Newcastle, chemical giant Orica and carbon innovation company GreenMag Group have invested six years of time and funds toward the project, the three now join with Mineral Carbonation International (MCi), which will spend $9 million over the next four years establishing the pilot plant at the University of Newcastle.

Orica chief executive Ian Smith says the process of turning carbon emissions into bricks has broad applications; “all the coal fired power stations around the world [could] be retrofitted so they can capture their CO2 off-take... it's an alternative solution... if you look at just storing it underground that only works in certain geological formations. This can work wherever those power stations are.”