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Keeping you informed about the TecEco cement and kiln projects.  Issue 49, 10 July 2005

Singapore and Kyoto

Singapore is a little island country that has never been afraid to make the right decisions. Joining Kyoto will not only show the International Community that Singaporean people care about the environment. Doing so should set the course for further development of the economy in an entirely new and exciting way.

There is no doubt that sustainability is going to be the biggest business on the planet in years to come. It will be the first countries to get seriously involved that take the major share and right now Singapore still has the opportunity to lead the world. By joining Kyoto Singaporean people can take advantage of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto protocol and profit by becoming a hub for the development of CDM projects.

There are already significant funds in Europe and Japan ready and available for investment in carbon reducing projects in so called "developing countries". Putting these projects together takes management, technology, money and willing participants. Singapore is an island and its economic strategies are focused on making this fact a strength, hence the shipping and airport hubs. It could also become a hub for the management of CDM projects.

To lead others as an exemplar, showing them how to become more sustainable, it is important Singapore gets an early start adopting more sustainable new technologies and practices as quickly as possible. TecEco technologies add considerable strength to the strategy of becoming a CDM hub and example to the rest of the world as they offer a holistic balance to energy efficiency and emissions reduction.

Re-engineering materials for emissions reduction or in the case of Eco-Cements, sequestration on a massive scale is a brilliant concept and one that must make it for our survival. Singapore could play a major role in introducing this technology to the world through the CDM mechanism.

To successfully market carbon reducing technologies in relation to major materials flows on the planet such as those in building and construction (concrete is the next used material after water) the first step is to understand them. It is also necessary at the same time to put in place many exemplars as doing so helps with this understanding and besides - will be a necessary adjunct to successful deployment elsewhere under the CDM.

Singapore, of all countries on the planet is a good choice to be the first to lead the rest of the world forward into a new more sustainable future. Singaporean people, although they may complain about their strict laws relating to rubbish etc. are underneath very proud of what they have managed to achieve. What I am suggesting is a whole new technical paradigm that can offer new direction to this mind set.

Practically I am talking about first lifting the level of understanding in relation to TecEco and other technologies such as pervious pavement. Developing such understanding precedes implementation which is also important as only by example can Singapore lead other nations into a bright new future of sustainability using the current CDM and future reincarnations of it.

I detect that at the moment Singapore is playing a waiting game in relation to Kyoto. They want to know what a map for the future beyond the current rounds of talks and agreements will look like. This is a followers strategy. For our future survival we need leaders, not followers. I am therefore hoping that by factoring in TecEco technology Singapore can summon the courage to move forward in a leadership role.

Contrary to what is thought by many there are no downsides to a change towards sustainability. Historically change is a great current for economic growth and the direction not necessarily fraught with danger. It does however require the kind of courage Singaporean people have displayed in the past in going it alone.

To lead by example the important thing is to make future construction much more sustainable beyond the levels architecture and engineering alone can deliver. This means understanding materials. A few days ago I passed a workman in Peninsular plaza in downtown Singapore cutting plastic with a grinder. The fumes given off smelt like cyanide or something worse yet he only covered his mouth with his shirt. We are poisoning ourselves with unnatural chemicals and excessive molecular flows such as those of CO2 as that worker will find out one day when he gets cancer or some other poison related disease. We need to us less poisonous materials that do not release gases or toxic wastes to the environment. When engineering materials we also have to be conscious of the energy and CO2 associated with the material.

TecEco have just such a philosophy and I therefore hope the Singaporean people can embrace the companies technologies and lead the world successfully implementing them in other countries using the clean development and other mechanisms as they evolve.

Is there Anything Special about a Name?

by Rachel Letts

Does a name signify that the bearer is destined to stand out in the annals of human achievement? Or is it mere co-incidence? For whatever the reason, it is interesting that two individuals with the same name have in a similar way pioneered different solutions to problems of their time.

An urgent petition reached the British Parliament on March 25, 1714. Certain "Captains of Her Majesty's Ships, merchants of London, and commanders of merchant-men" wanted something done about the day's most pressing problem in navigation, the problem of accurately determining longitude.

Sir Isaac Newton, by then the president of the Royal Society, said in 1714 that a superior clock might be the solution. Appearing before a Parliamentary committee convened to consider the petition, Newton said: "...by reason of the motion of a ship, the variation of heat and cold, wet and dry, and the difference of gravity in different latitudes, such a watch hath never been made."

John Harrison 1693-1776

Whatever affected maritime trade or British navel supremacy was no trifling matter, so the British parliament voted in the same year to offer a reward of £10,000 for any method capable of determining a ship's longitude within one degree; £15,000, within 40'; and £20,000 for within half of one degree. A permanent board of examiners, composed of scientists and admirals, was given responsibility for evaluation proposals and judging the results of accuracy tests. This became known as the Board of Longitude.

John Harrison from Lancashire was twenty one when the prize was offered and dared to imagine a mechanical solution. (Sobel 1995). Between 1730-1770 he built five revolutionary timepieces in his single-minded pursuit of the prize.

With no prize on offer for many years another John Harrison, Aubrey John Harrison, the managing director of TecEco, has single-mindedly pursued a solution to the current important scientific and environmental problem of global warming by developing Eco-Cement and a way of making it without emissions that will by sequestering significant amounts of carbon in the built environment contribute greatly to mitigating the problem. According to Aubrey John, thanks partly to his possible forbear, (he thinks he may be related to the John Harrison of longitude fame) we have discovered the world, but as yet we do not know how to live within the means provided by it.

In the twenty first century global warming represents the greatest challenge facing us all. The temperature anomaly causing climate change is the direct result of massively increased carbon emissions particularly in industrialized western countries. Although no reward has been offered the challenge is to find an economical, effective and reliable way to solve the problem. Diverse solutions from emissions reduction to planting forests as carbon sinks have been proposed.

The Kyoto Protocol has raised international awareness of the global warming problem. There is a great deal of scientific research and explanation and in the wake of this populations worldwide are debating the issues. But only a few people like the modern John Harrison are actively endeavoring to find a solution.

The story of the two John Harrison’s is interesting not only for their revolutionary inventions, but also for the many obstacles they had to overcome and their personalities. John Harrison of the eighteenth century encountered entrenched opposition to his mechanical devices. He was not a scientist and thus his chronometer did not fit into the astronomical solutions propounded by the scientific establishment. He was not a member of the establishment and held in suspicion by those who were. Many ancillary inventions such as the compensating pendulum and grasshopper escapement were also needed and John Harrison the carpenter and surveyor turned watchmaker labored, over a very long period and often at his own expense, to prove his chronometers as compact, reliable, simple and effective tools for accurately determining time and thus longitude.

John Harrison of the twenty first century displays similar characteristics. He is a scientist and an idealist who believes passionately in the health of the planet. He works tirelessly to refine his theories and persuade others that his different methodology of cement production using magnesium and alternative chemical processes are an elegant way of protecting our environment. He believes in himself and perseveres, often at his own expense and against entrenched practices and conservative thinking to change our collective consciousness to recognize that recycling carbon in the “built environment”, using his revolutionary cement as a binder and method of making it is the most practicable and economical way of reducing carbon in the atmosphere. The modern John Harrison of Tececo, Tasmania, dares to suggest that we must learn from nature and use carbon like trees or shellfish to make our homes.

If John Harrison of the eighteenth century has been hailed as ‘the lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time” (Sobel 1995), then the modern John Harrison is the lone genius of the twenty first century who is trying to solve the greatest scientific and environmental problem of his time.

Reference:

Sobel, Dava; Longitude, Walker Publishing Company, New York, 1995.

TecEco Looking for Staff

Our managing director John Harrison is looking for a personal assistant who has a knowledge of tax and accounting, cares about the environment and hopefully knows the difference between science and dogma!

Please apply if you are passionate about solving the global warming problem.