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Tasmania 7010 Australia
Phone: 61 3 62497868 (am)
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Keeping you informed about the TecEco cement and kiln projects. Issue 27, 31st May 2004
In the words of Dr David Leaman, Tasmanian geologist, "we are trained by culture, our background, reading, or teaching , to a particular world view, some problems can only be solved by stepping free but it an be a difficult and lonely thing to do. Few can afford to take such risks today because our world is one overly dependent on funding and peer acceptances. No support, no grants. Challenge any pillar of accepted wisdom, and you will not receive support - of any kind. I have never been able to help it. I ask. I challenge. I want to know. The disease is curiosity." (David Leaman, The Rock Which Makes Tasmania (Tasmania's Curse), p22.
The built environment offers tremendous opportunities for improving sustainability. The manufacture of Portland cement accounts for around 23% of global CO2 emissions and about 10% of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (See http://www.propubs.com/climate/).
Taking up this challenge I initiated the TecEco project (see www.tececo.com) to develop a more environmentally friendly cement. Through good fortune and some lateral thinking I have managed to develop a new materials science that has attracted considerable interest around the world and caught the attention of the world’s leading cement scientists (See All That Publicity Below)
The theory behind our cements is simple; we blend reactive magnesium oxide
and pozzolanic waste materials with other hydraulic cements and in concrete
such as found in bricks, blocks, pavers and mortars, (with which most of the
built environment is made) and the magnesium oxide carbonates. As CO2 can
be captured at source during production, a perfect way of sequestering around
15% of the world’s anthropogenic carbon dioxide with economic benefits is
We have little or no funding. What we have done to date I have done with my own money and the help of a few loyal shareholders, and there is precious little of that. What is needed is peer acceptance through independent research, confirmation and elucidation. We decided about a year ago now to release all we know to the public domain. Many scientist are now interested in our ideas. Maybe this is a backlash to the dogmatic views that prevailed when David wrote the above words. I now have hope that research projects, will vindicate my ideas and establish the merit of what we have to say and the beginnings of a whole new way of building our environment.
Thanks to Phillip Sutton for the following diagram.
According to a media release by the Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP released on the 13 May 2003, Australia will celebrate the Year of the Built Environment in 2004, with a Commonwealth commitment of $168.5 million in 2003-04 to protect our built heritage and help make urban life more sustainable.
Dr David Kemp said "As the Government tackles the problems of land degradation,
salinity and water quality in regional Australia, we will also be focusing
on the nation's built environment with two exciting new programmes announced
in today's Budget to build on the work already under way through a range of
“A five-year, $40 million Sustainable Cities programme, developed in collaboration with the Australian Democrats and Senator Lees, will focus on improving the environment for the 17 million Australians who live in our towns and cities - 87 per cent of our population.”
“The Year of the Built Environment will explore buildings and the way we use them, how we travel between them and how almost every aspect of our urban lifestyle impacts on our natural environment. It will highlight how, through managing industrial or household wastes, air and waterway pollution or the production of greenhouse gases Australians can make a contribution towards a more sustainable Australia.”
"The Commonwealth will contribute $500,000 to celebrating the Year and the major programmes that focus on the built environment, highlighting the $168.5 million that will be spent by the Government in 2003-04. Other built environment programmes funded in this year's Budget include:
A CSIRO programme, also called Sustainable Cities, worth $30 million in 2003-04, to improve technologies for design, planning and construction. The CSIRO programme complements the $40 million Environment Australia Sustainable Cities programme, which has an initial commitment of $5.5 million to activities in 2003-04;
$54.1 million for environmental impact assessments across the Environment, Transport and Regional Services and Treasury portfolios to ensure sustainable development;
$38.4 million for control and management of chemicals, waste products and pollutants;
$5.2 million for programmes supporting improved energy efficiency; and
Other urban environment initiatives across government of $38.9 million.
"During the Year of the Built Environment, the Commonwealth will focus not only on buildings, but on our urban way of life as a whole," Dr Kemp said.
"For example, my department's Sustainable Cities programme, announced tonight, includes the development of a National Australian Buildings Ratings Scheme; a water efficiency labeling system for household appliances like dishwashers and washing machines and extension of the successful Photovoltaic Rebate to encourage householders to use solar energy.”
"New fuel quality standards will continue to improve urban air quality, and partnerships with industry will encourage more action on waste, from plastic bags, packaging, hazardous chemicals and electrical goods, to cigarette butts, used tyres and end-of-life vehicles.”
"We will also be working closely with local government on continuing programmes like the Australian Greenhouse Office's Cities for Climate Protection, encouraging local communities to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.”
Dr Kemp said events and activities for the Year of the Built Environment will be coordinated by his department in partnership with the Western Australian government and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.
"We look forward to working with these partners and other governments, Commonwealth agencies and non-government organisations in making the Year a success," he said. "It will be a welcome opportunity for Australians to look at what we have learnt and can do better in the future, particularly in such areas as design quality, sustainable urban development, building codes, heritage conservation, water management and energy conservation.”
"The built environment is relevant to us all - from the houses we live in to the way we plan our cities and the way our buildings impact on the natural environment. The $168.5 million whole of government commitment to the built environment includes $107.8 million in measures for human settlements across other portfolios such as Transport, Treasury and the CSIRO's $30 million focus on cities; $34.5 million for built aspects of heritage spending across all portfolios and $2.7 million for Cities for Climate Protection.”
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
A lot – we hope. At least Dr Kemp’s department are interested in talking
to us and want to arrange a meeting.
Hopefully they understand the issues relating to Portland cement and read the article in Global Cement and Lime Magazine referred to below.
We have now appeared in the British paper The Guardian. This is great but embarrassing. Every time we appear in a major publication such as the Guardian we are swamped with emails from potential customer looking for product we are unable to supply until we can ramp up this business lot more than we have so far. What we are hoping of course is that some "deep pockets" read the article and are compelled to assist us with their investment dollars
If you are interested you may care to navigate to :
for a short story in the British paper "the Guardian" on us which is starting to generate the usual "where can we buy the cement" type emails. Hopefully one or two "deep pockets" read it as well!
Tam Dalyell who is the member for Linlithgow (and known as the Father or
the house of Commons) of the British House of Commons and also writes for
the New Scientist Magazine reported in Westminster diary, New Scientist vol
176 issue 2368 - 09 November 2002, page 55 that he asked the British Minister
for the environment a question about Eco-Cements.
Tam Dalyell said he liked the idea that our concrete jungle could one day emulate the real thing (New 0Scientist, 13 July, p 38). He reported our managing director, John Harrison as saying that if we were to make our cement based on magnesium carbonate rather than calcium carbonate it would soak up loads of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and help to reduce climate change without sacrificing modern living standards.
Tam Dalyell then went on to say that the British environment minister, Michael Meacher is forever looking for new ways to reduce atmospheric carbon and that when he asked him what he thought about Harrison's idea, he said that any novel technology that both reduces the carbon emitted in cement manufacture and absorbs carbon during its lifetime is worth serious investigation. But neither he nor his advisers has direct knowledge or experience of magnesium cement, possibly because the minerals required to make it, such as dolomite and magnesite, are not readily available in Britain on the scale that would be required.
A couple of weeks later Mr Dalyell, asked a further question in Parliament as reported by the British Hansard as follows : “To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Minister of State (Environment)'s letter 171977/JW of 16th September, what action has been taken to follow up issues about magnesium carbonate and carbon sequestration.”
As yet I have not been able to trace these any further – so wait for the next thrilling episode!
The new technology won the Tasmanian Innovation of the Year Award in 2002 and since then John Harrison, the managing director has been on TV at least once and on radio several times in Australia. Articles have appeared in a diverse range of publications including New Scientist (Fred Pearce, "The Concrete Jungle Overheats", New Scientist, vol 175 issue 2351, 19 July 2002, page 39 and Tam Dalyell, "Westminster Diary", New Scientist vol 176 issue 2368, 09 November 2002, page 55), the Toronto Star, National Report, Saturday, July 27, 2002, p. F05, the CSIRO online Sustainability Newsletter and as recently as a couple of days ago in an article by Owen Dyer appearing in The Guardian (Owen Dyer, A Rock and a Hard Place, Eco-cement yet to cover ground in the building industry, Wednesday May 28, 2003, The Guardian). A film about block making using the technology has been shown by Discovery Channel Canada and more recently in the USA.
Educated at the university of Tasmania and RMIT in Melbourne, Robert Cameron
works as a project manager for the British based CIREA (Construction Industry
Research and Information Association). With more than 500 corporate members
the CIRIA is the independent voice of construction and environment in the
Robert is an experienced environmental professional with a broad range of technical knowledge which is underpinned by experience in all aspects of project management required to deliver projects to time, cost and quality specifications including the delivery of supporting business development and marketing activities.
Robert also has had extensive experience on a wide range of environmental projects utilising a strong engineering background to produce practical advice and solutions. He recently gained particular experience in the construction industry whilst being responsible for delivering a portfolio of innovative research and development projects on the theme of sustainable construction. Robert is considered to be an innovative thinker with a understanding, commitment and passion for the principles and practice of pragmatic sustainable development.
He has continually demonstrated business acumen through the identification and development of numerous opportunities for improved business performance including playing a key role in the development and initiation of a comprehensive business plan.
Robert has proven ability to undertake sales and marketing activities at a national and international level and he deals with personnel at all organisational levels have honed strong interpersonal and communication skills.
Key areas of his experience include sustainability/environmental indicators and management systems, eco-efficiency analysis, environmental consulting, regulatory approvals, sustainability policy advice, air pollution sampling and analysis and waste management.
Robert’s previous clients have included: multinational construction companies; government departments; multinational manufacturing companies; local governments; small manufacturing facilities; waste management companies; government and private utilities.
Greg Longman is the TecEco representative in Melbourne and has a bachelor
of science with honours and is a qualified engineer. He also has a graduate
diploma of business administration from Swinburne University of Technology
and an MBA from Monash Mt Eliza Business School. As Greg has had several years
project management and concrete industry experience and an interest in sustainability
issues an association with him will prove invaluable to TecEco.
Greg has this to say about his recent visit.
“Having spent the past six months talking to John and assisting in whatever way I could from my remote location in Melbourne, in May I was able to set some time aside to visit the heart of the TecEco empire in Tasmania. John’s achievements have been very impressive, working tirelessly, usually on his own, organising all manner of documents, samples, press releases, the web page and numerous other tasks.
My initial visit included an inspection of the different samples of bricks and blocks than are stored at John’s home. The amount of samples that have been made and prepared impressed me, as I didn’t know quite how much prelim work had been carried out.
I visited the R and D facility, which I local to John’s home, and can report that it I progressing well. I would suggest it will not be long before the equipment from the current facility, when the majority of the plant is held, will be relocated at the new facility. This being the case, then there will be office and laboratory facilities at hand to progress the work.
During my visit I was able to meet Vincent Lyne. Vince has given much support to John throughout the life of the project and gave the impression of being an excellent sounding board for some of John’s different ideas. Vince also described his passion for photography.
John and I had some excellent meetings with different parties through out Tasmania and it is positive that interest and enthusiasm is growing for the project locally and internationally.
I was kindly looked after by Johns family and I must express special thanks to Barb, JJ and Irena for all of their time and effort in making me welcome.
John is very busy writing business plans and associated documents and it was good to be able to work with John for a few days and try to take some of his workload from him.
The clear message from this exercise is that John needs support, mainly in the form of financial assistance, if this technology is going to develop further.”