Our interaction with our planet earth is described as the techno-process which is the process of taking resources, manipulating them as required, making something with them, using what is made and then throwing what has been made that no longer has utility away.
The moleconomic flows underlying the flow of materials through our economy have a big impact on the environment and homeostasis of the planet. To solve environmental problems we need to understand more about materials in relation to the environment, what moleconomic flows are associated with the production and use of various materials, the way their precursors are derived and their degradation products assimilated and how we can reduce the impact of these processes. We must question what energies drive the production, use and wastage of materials and how we can reduce these energies as well as how materials impact on lifetime energies. With the knowledge gained we will be able to re-design materials to not only be more sustainable but more sustainable in use.
Converting Wastes to Resources to Make Composite Materials we can solve many of our Environmental Problems
We can reduce the impact of the take and waste phases of the techno-process by including carbon and other wastes in composite materials. By recycling wastes forphysical properties aswell as chemical compositionthey become resources. Re engineering materials toreduce their embodied energies and emissions and their properties that effect the lifetime energyof buildings we can make big inroads into sustainability particularly in the built environment which at over 70% of all materials flows, comprise the major component of the flow through the techno-process. The most significant material flow is that of concrete as over two tonnes are produced per person on the planet per annum.
Environmental problems caused by materials have three main roots:
- When materials are stripped out of the earth faster than they can be replaced. This occurs with mining, oil extraction and logging.
- When materials are dumped into the biosphere faster than they can be assimilated. Classic examples of this can be seen when toxic waste is released into rivers, when overly high amounts of CO2 are released into the atmosphere, and when large quantities of heavy metals are dumped into the ground.
- When bio diversity levels are reduced, such as occurs with over fishing, industrial scale agriculture and habitat destruction.
It is clear then that to reduce our impact on the environment, it is important to minimise the extraction and wastage of materials. To do this, we need to develop materials that:
- are eco-efficient (do more with less material)
- maintain their utility (last longer for their purpose)
- are as recyclable as possible - ideally 100% recyclable
- can utilise other recycled materials in their manufacture
- cause minimal damage to the environment if and when they are returned to the biosphere-geosphere
- That if possible are carbon sinks (As with Gaia Engineering and TecEco Eco-Cement)
The sooner our industrial system redesigns materials to meet these conditions, the sooner we will be able to achieve environmental sustainability. TecEco technologies represent giant steps in this direction. The Gaia Engineering tececology actually reverses the flow of damaging moleconomic flows as a result of the movement of materials through our economy
TecEco have focused on materials flows in the built environment because of the huge flows involved. Our footprint on the planet offers enormous potential for changes toward greater sustainability. A durable low pH high bondingbinder system such as Tec andEco-Cementsis ideal for the composite world of the future that will include all sorts of wastes and in the case of Eco-Cement can be close to carbon neutral or a net sink for CO2 if carbon is captured during manufacture.