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Keeping you informed about the TecEco cement and kiln projects. Issue 51, 24 November 2005
With something that looks as plain on TV as a brick we still managed to make the top 5 in the peoples choice award for the ABC New Inventors for 2005. I was disappointed we did not win and can only say it was very difficult to get across the enormous importance of what we are doing in a 5 minute TV program. I hope one day to be taken a lot more seriously.
On the same day we received an encouraging email as a consolation prize which said:
"I read passionately your newsletter 49 specially the section on your preliminary autobiography!!!! Aubrey John Harrison and on John Harrison (your spiritual twin).
The story on John Harrison of the eighteenth century is very interesting and seems quite similar to your story. Without denigrating the project of J. Harrison 18th century, I believe that your project has a more important issue: a revolutionary, and easy way to solve our biggest planetary problem "save the environment and the planet".
The modern John Harrison might be the lone genius of the twenty first century who is trying to solve the greatest scientific and environmental problem of his time, but one day you will be the most popular scientist on the planet and I hope to have the chance to shake your hand when it will happen, because I believe in your revolutionary technology.
I expect to be in Brisbane in February 2006. So I will try to give you a call just to say hello and to encourage you."
TecEco are shaping up the company's first commercial product which is likely to be a formulation for mud bricks. It works approximately twice as well as pure Portland Cement in most soils even in low concentrations and makes a very durable earth product whether adobe, puddled or pressed mud brick, papercrete, earthcrete or any other earth containing material.
Considering that more than half the world are housed in mud brick or adobe type structures this is very exciting!
With so many disaster areas around the world with little or no infrastructure, huge logistical problems and the high cost of transport fuels (both in dollar and environmental terms) we need to contemplate greater use of local earths in construction.
We have two mud brick projects on the go right now and are looking for more. Anybody interested please contact the company. We will ask you to sign an indemnity first however so please think about it.
Michael is building a "muddie" between Whittlesea and Wallan on a beautiful property in a bushland setting.
Testing started with Eco-Cement mud bricks some two years ago and has been going on every since. So far we have found that for both pressed mud bricks as well as mortars and renders TecEco formulations are about twice as good as the Portland cement controls.
The mud bricks have mostly been out in the weather for six to twelve months and have hardly deteriorated at all. They look good and have good strength.
For the mortars John Harrison initially specified a 3 Eco-Cement:12 sand, however Michael found this a little strong and a 3:20 formulation is now being used with great success. The bricklayer loves the mix, it bonds well to mud bricks and has sufficient strength.
Lance is building a “muddie” up Buxton way and testing tec and Eco-Cements.
“I made 4 blocks with the Tech-cement and 4 with the Eco-cement at 2,4,6,and 8 percent. With the Tech-cement the mix got progressively stiffer and smoother as I went from 2 to 8 percent. To a lesser extent I got the same effect with the Eco-cement. The dirt I was using had a fair amount of small mud-stone pieces and the soil was a bit lumpy to start with. At 2 percent I couldn't trowel off the blocks smoothly.
I haven't noticed these stiffening effects with Portland cement. There's no obvious effect on the mix when placing into the forms of different proportions of OPC.
I conclude that some chemical reaction is taking place with your cement and my soil.”
The point is that under the drop tests, both out tec and Eco-Cement mud bricks
did about twice as well as the Portland cement controls.
Scott is young and enthusiastic, has a deep love and respect for nature and is our first employee. It is a sign of the times that he is not a scientist but a budding intellectual property lawyer!
Scott has a strong interest in technology commercialisation. He was involved in the creation of a video analysis software company in 1998 and several other technology startups. He was admitted to the bar in Tasmania in August 2005.
Professor Tim Flannery's wrote The Weather Makers as a manual on the use of Earth’s thermostat. The book brings the science of global warming to non-scientists in an accessible form. It is a call to action, laying bare the facts, the theories, the politics and the controversies surrounding the most crucial issue of our time. Flannery contends, forcefully and convincingly, that individuals, corporations and governments need to act now to address the implications of the earth's changing climate.
On the widest of time-scales, planet earth's surface temperature has varied quite wildly. Only for the last 10,000 years or so has the temperature of our sphere remained set at a comfy average of 14°C. This climate stability has enabled humans to not only survive, but to develop culture and intellect - firstly through the use of hand tools and agriculture, then with more advanced machinery, electricity, telecommunications and computing.
The basic global warming equation can be described in two steps. Firstly, at the heart of planet earth's thermostat, a "complex and delicate mechanism," is atmospheric carbon dioxide. CO2 acts like the glass roof and walls of a greenhouse - it lets light in but keeps radiated heat from getting out, causing things to warm up.
Secondly, the machines that we have been building to make our lives more comfortable and interesting have been, and largely still are, powered by digging up fossilised carbon and burning it, releasing additional CO2 into the atmosphere.
As we warm the earth the rates of species extinction accelerates. Each species on earth has a range of habitat within which it can live. Climate change has set these habitable zones on the move. In Costa Rica the warming climate caused the mists to rise to higher elevations on the mountain home of the Golden Toad. Over the course of the 1980's the mists rose beyond the height of the mountain and the Golden Toad became the first species known to become extinct as a direct result of global warming. Many species, similarly unable to migrate with the changing climate, are certain to follow suit.
Other problems arise as the temperature goes up. Ice caps melt (reflecting less sunlight away from earth), sea-levels rise and weather gets increasingly scary. Droughts become more common, and severe. The Great Barrier Reef coral dies and turns to chalk. Ecosystems everywhere get massively disrupted. Flannery describes the notion of a “tipping point” that may switch our planet’s climate into a mode that we would barely recognise, and alludes to the impacts that this would have upon biodiversity and human civilisation.
The fate of many species on earth is already written on the wall. Whether human-beings will appear on that growing list largely depends on what we, collectively, do from here.
The Weather Makers is essential reading.
On page 165 Flannery mentions that there is currently no way of getting the CO2 that is in the atmosphere back out again. As our regular readers will know, TecEco technology is designed to do just that. (See www.tececo.com: Navigate to sustainability\TecEco sequestration)
An element like magnesium with a low molecular weight can bind a lot of CO2 and is therefore ideal. Made into a hydroxide slurry magnesium will scrub CO2 out of gas bubbled through it.
Having captured the CO2, to recover the magnesium as an oxide that can be used again for the same purpose it is necessary you need to calcine it using energy that is not from fossil fuels. The TecEco kiln will produce reactive magnesia used in the companies cements and for reuse in the hydroxide scrubbing process described above without releasing CO2 to the atmosphere. Sources of energy such as solar can also be used that do not result in process emissions. Once captured and bottled, the CO2 can be geosequestered.
To solve the CO2 problem ideally we need to put a real economic value on the gas. To do this it is essential to find uses for it. The technical paradigm defines what is or is not a resource and TecEco plan to change the paradigm to mimic nature and incorporate the gas into Eco-Cements used to create the built environment. As building and construction account for around 70% of all materials flows it is not hard to understand that TecEco technology can make a very big difference to the level of CO2 in the air.
By making the using of carbon something people do economically it will happen and result in global world wide significant net ambient carbon sequestration.
Carbon sequestration is currently about forest biomass, underground (geosequestration) or into minerals (mineral sequestration). TecEco technology connects mineral with geosequestration and puts a real value on carbon as a major componenet of the built environment.
In Eco-Cement blocks concretes and and mortars the binder is carbonate and the aggregates are preferably wastes. Sequestering carbon in magnesium binders and aggregates in the built environment mimics nature in that carbon is used in the homes or skeletal structures of most plants and animals.