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Keeping you informed about the TecEco Cement project.   Issue 31,   7th February 2004

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For the first time you can now go to the web site and subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter.

We hope the list will grow substantially and appreciate your support.

New Technical Documents on Web Site

A new technical summary with more more information relevant to engineers has been posted to the web site under Documentation\Technical Documentation. The previous technical document has been removed and is being re-written covering mainly the chemistry.

The technical presentation has also been brought up to date.

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The Words of Ralph Bicknese - An Environmentally Minded Architect

"Ripping materials off the face of the earth as cheaply and quickly (and frequently brutally) as possible and out of her womb to make money at the expense of the environment and at the expense of human wellness is not healthy. Simply because it makes money does not make it good. Simply because it makes more money does not make it better. Sustainable business is based on a triple bottom line; on people, the planet and prosperity. The three go hand in hand. Without successfully addressing any one of these there cannot be long term success. There is no balance with a bottom line approach. The triple bottom line approach is a conscious attempt to provide that balance.

Today the world is moving backward rather than forward. Every living system is in decline. We are able to design buildings so they use considerably less energy and water than code compliant buildings and that use land in a more environmentally friendly way, use products produced to be much more environmentally friendly, and that improve the health and productivity of students and/or employees, all with no to little additional cost. The next step is to provide building projects that are restorative, that improve the environment, rather than simply help sustain life at current levels. Positive progress is being made on that. People are demanding better products that meet our environmental requirements and manufacturers are responding. The building industry is transforming. They realise that if they do not they will not survive. When one considers that every product and every service will at one time be redesigned it is a small step to realise that success lies with the goal of designing them to meet the needs of social equity, environmental performance and long term prosperity. It is a matter of priorities and desire. That is my desire. Idealistic? Yes. Realistic? I think it is the only way.


Ralph Bicknese, AIA
LEEDT 2.0 Accredited Professional
Hellmuth + Bicknese architects
4112 west pine blvd.
st. louis, mo 63108
t: 314.531.9901
f: 314.531.9902
c: 314.265.0517

Reprinted with the kind permission of Ralph Bicknese.

The ISOS Conference Communiqué Recommends Development of TecEco Eco-Cement

At an important meeting in Canberra on 14 November, nearly 200 experts and lay people addressed the first steps needed in the national search for sustainability. The meeting was the culmination of the nine-month long ISOS Internet conference which included 85 papers on 9 separate themes including Water, Health and Well-being, Land Use and Sustainable Ecosystems, Energy, Economic Systems, Equity and Peace, Climate , Labour Force and Work, and Transport and Urban Design .

The discussions were based on a communiqué which had been prepared by leading authors and participants in the Internet conference and included 34 recommendations for local, state and national action.

The recommendations included a strongly supported proposal for a national inquiry along the lines of the earlier “Hilmer Inquiry” into national competition policy. The purpose of this inquiry would be to identify the structural mechanisms and legislative changes required to integrate social and environmental sustainability into decision-making at all levels of Australian governance.”

The 6000 word communiqué which can be downloaded in an electronic form from the conference web site, www.isosconference.org.au , and the part relevant to TecEco is summarised in this newsletter. The communiqué conveys the complexity, interrelatedness and urgency for action on these issues which will profoundly influence the future of Australian society. It highlights action points which need to be widely discussed in the community and be considered by politicians at local, state and federal level as we move into election mode.

The organizing committee of the ISOS Conference consisted of Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas AO, Chair Australia 21, Dr. Bryan Furnass AM, Nature and Society Forum and Ms. Jenny Goldie, Executive Director, Sustainable Population Australia.

The Communiqué - “It’s Sustainability, Stupid!”

An agenda for urgent community and political action relating to the world that our children will inherit.

The Challenge

The present trajectory of planetary human civilisation is unsustainable. Our children face an uncertain future as a result of human "planetary overload". The most urgent challenge of our time is to discover humanity's path to a sustainable future.

The term sustainability refers to the capacity of human systems to provide for the full range of human concerns over the long-term. Sustainability, when applied to humans, refers both to long-term survival of the species and the quality of their lives. Global sustainability will require that we recognise and act upon the gross inequalities of access to natural resources and to health care between industrialised and developing countries.

Australians are not living sustainably and we are part of a shrinking and interconnected world that is becoming increasingly hostile to the long-term survival of our species.

In moving towards a sustainable future, we need to ensure that we:

In spite of growing recognition and action by Australian governments and industry in these matters, our society still falls far short of meeting these criteria.

There were specific recommendations in each of the nine themes considered by the conference and a set of overarching recommendations in the concluding section of this communiqué. The findings of theme 9, Transport and Urban Design are reproduced below.

The consensus emerging from the internet discussions which have been taking place during the past nine month between Australian experts and lay-people is that we must now, as a nation, make significant changes in the way we manage our social, economic and environmental assets.

The necessary changes need to be coordinated and integrated at all levels of government. Industrial and community bodies also need to be involved in the changes that will alter the way we govern and manage our lives. Our progress towards a more just and sustainable global society must be understood and monitored by all Australian citizens.


  1. Water
  2. Human health and well being
  3. Land Use and Natural Ecosystems
  4. Energy
  5. Equity and Peace
  6. Economic Systems
  7. Climate
  8. Labour Force and Work
  9. Transport and Urban Design

9. Transport and Urban Design

Sustainability provides an excellent basis for holistic urban and regional planning and the involvement of civil society. It involves working from a community-base and in line with global sustainability principles concerning the simultaneous reduction in ecological footprint and improvement in livability.

Infrastructure, especially transportation, shapes cities. Unless cities are reducing their oil input they will not be sustainable for long. Controversy exists between those advocating more compact cities and those advocating reduced densities with technological changes to cars. The debate over size and density includes a consideration both of the efficiency of energy use and livability.

Partial resolution of the controversy may be to enable some parts of cities to be developed more intensely for reductions in energy (and more intensely urban economic activity) and other parts to remain low in density so that green activities can occur there (including urban agriculture and bio diversity restoration activities). It is also possible to maintain the concept of a garden city by combining landscape and buildings in new ways, particularly with roof gardens and atriums.

The limits to growth in cities must mean urban growth boundaries. Thus there must be redevelopment of new focused, dense suburban centres that are walkable and public transport-oriented (now called Transit Cities).

It is now economically feasible to build houses and commercial buildings that require no artificial cooling in summer and little artificial heating in winter - ones that generate their own electricity and sell surplus to the grid, store most of their own rainwater, re-use grey water, and maximise sunshine on sunny winter days.

At least five per cent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the manufacture and use of Portland cement. Eco-Cement, an Australian innovation, not only releases less CO2 during its manufacture, is also capable of sequestering CO2 and of recycling industrial waste.

For the past hundred years we have enjoyed unprecedented freedom to travel and to enjoy the goods of the whole world. These enormous privileges, however, have come at a cost to the environment. New management of our transport arrangements that pays attention to the declining availability of oil is now essential. This will mean a transition to gas fuels and then to hydrogen. Rail transport is undeveloped in Australia, but is more environmentally friendly and less vulnerable to expected future shortages in fossil fuel. Conceivably, rail may once again become our predominant transport mode.


  1. That new Australian building approvals require the average house and commercial building to use 50 per cent less energy and water as well as have minimum sustainability outcomes with respect to waste, site ecology, transport and affordability.
  2. That, in developing national transport policy, energy and CO2 emission balance sheets for different transport options are provided so alternatives to the current road/truck-oriented transport system are encouraged.
  3. That the Federal Government promote Australian building innovations (e.g. Eco-Cement) that contribute global solutions towards sustainability; provide more sustainable city innovation R and D funds; and re-direct some housing and transport funds towards sustainable cities demonstration projects.

Conclusion and Four Overarching Recommendations from the Australian Collaboration

Material progress has been the dominant paradigm of modern Western societies like Australia. We have tended to view progress as a pipeline: pump more wealth in one end, and more welfare flows out the other. Economic growth in this outdated model is paramount.

Sustainable development, which must now supplant this previously dominant paradigm, does not accord economic growth overriding priority. It seeks a better balance and integration of social, environmental and economic goals and objectives to produce a high, equitable and lasting quality of life. Sustainable development acknowledges the dynamic relationship between the goals of improving well being and ensuring that improvements are compatible with a healthy natural environment.

A sustainable future global society is technically possible, economically feasible and socially desirable, but we need the political will to manage the transition. Our science gives us better understanding than ever before of the natural world and our impacts on it. Technology gives us unprecedented capacity to change the world to meet our needs and suit our desires. Humanity requires us to use that scientific understanding and technological capacity to develop as a sustainable society. That is a moral responsibility to future generations as well as to the other species with which we share the planet.

Even with fundamental shifts in desired lifestyles, values and technology, it will take decades to make poverty obsolete, realign human activity with a healthy environment and ameliorate the deep fissures which divide the human family.

A renewed respect for the natural world can provide us with a durable cultural or spiritual base.

The characteristics of a sustainable society are that it is humane, has an Eco-centric approach and a long time horizon, and is informed, efficient and resourced.

The Australian Collaboration has called, as part of its vision for a Just and Sustainable Australia, for the following overarching developments as we confront the population “bottleneck” of the twenty first century:

A new national political charter with commitments to specific social, cultural and environmental as well as economic goals

The establishment of a new parliamentary institution to examine long-term trends affecting Australia and to foster wide debate about them in Australian society

The establishment of a formal independent inquiry into the working of democracy in all its forms in Australia and a commitment to implement its main recommendations

Action to put in place comprehensive reporting of social, cultural, environmental and economic conditions and trends.
If all Australian governments committed to building social, environmental and economic sustainability into every element of governance, we could be an example to the rest of the world.

John Harrison's Comment

The ISOS conference was organised by three non government organisations: Australia 21, Nature and Society Forum and Sustainable Population Australia. Sponsors included the CSIRO, Australian National University, ACT Government Office of Sustainability and Land and Water, Australia.

The conference findings are doing TecEco a lot of good. The Sydney Morning Herald picked up on the story and gave TecEco a very good run under the heading "Read all about it: Ways to survive the future" in the business news section on page 26 on the 13th January 2004.

Copywrite law prevents us reproducing the article in this newsletter. The full text can be viewed at http://www.smh.com.au/, however a fee may be payable. Email us for a copy of the actual newspaper clipping.

Will Action Plan to Reconcile Green and Industrial Concerns Help TecEco?

28 January 2004

There has been an European Commission proposal to launch an Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP). The idea is to boost economic growth without playing havoc with the environment. According to the pres release this is not a lost cause and a sound strategy is to develop and promote greener technologies.

Exactly the TecEco message! TecEco concrete technologies are environmentally friendly and will boost the economy! We wonder when the talk fest will stop and some money be made available for getting on with developing the technology.

Officially unveiled in a Commission Communication on January 28, the 10-point plan is divided into three major categories. The planned measures range from market research, to creating suitable market conditions and acting on a global scale. The action plan is expected to require a budget of some Euro 23.676 million over the 2004-2008 period. It is scheduled to be presented to the March 25/26 EU Summit in Brussels, as part of the debate on meeting the Lisbon Strategy targets and the application of the European Sustainable Development Strategy agreed on during the Gothenburg Summit in Sweden in June 2001.

Roll on the action!

India an Early Target for the TecEco Technology

The reasons TecEco are giving India some priority are:

My first visit was in September 2003 on the way back from the UK when I managed to get myself an invitation to speak at a conference in Pune. At that conference I met a Prof. Venkataswamy Ramakrishnan who is a very likeable chap and a world leader. More importantly he is prepared to consider the unknown and innovate. We got on well and he invited me to speak at a conference in his honour at Chennai which I attended earlier this month.

As an invited speaker I was given half and hour to rave about the virtues of TecEco technology but this was still not enough. A few people did however flatter me by telling me I gave the best presentation. I fortunately got through to the chief scientist of Larson and Toubro (http://www.larsentoubro.com/), arguably India's biggest company and their managing director, a Mr Ramkrishnan even mentioned our technology when he gave the valedictory speech.

We will hopefully be commencing trials of the technology with Larson and Toubro and I will try and get them to focus on durability. Supplies of reactive magnesia will be arranged through the Orind group (http://www.orind.com) which is also an Indian company.

Indian architects and engineers build very innovative and attractive structures, but they have a lot of problems with the labour force and quality control. As a consequence the quality of the concretes is generally not good. TecEco technology will help get over some of these problems.

India is in a good position to take up Carbon trading in earnest because it produces large quantities of supplementary cementitious materials such as fly ash and iron slags and the level of technology is quite low and hence not very sustainable. Low cost improvements would result in significant abatement and opportunities for trading.

We have a lot to offer India because of it's unique problems and my mission is to get them to understand this and want our technology.

A high proportion of global cement technologists are Indians and tend to visit India to attend conferences and catch up with family/friends. Such people return to their tenures at universities all over the world aware of the TecEco technology.

I have appreciated the hospitality of Mr Ajay Singh of Faridabad and Richard Quadros of Mumbai during my travels and look forward to meeting them again.

TecEco Work Program

Our Major Effort at the Moment is to completely rework all our documentation. We want to be sure our message is what we want it to be. TecEco staff and myself are about a third of the way through this task. When completed we will be embarking on a major publicity drive aimed at securing considerable research and financial backing.

John Harrison B.Sc. B.Ec. FCPA
TecEco Pty. Ltd.
497 Main Road.
Glenorchy TAS 7010
Ph: 61 3 62492352 (am, weekends and evenings)
Ph: 61 3 62713000 (pm, weekdays)
Fx: 62730010 (if urgent also 61 3 62492352, ph. first)
Mob: 0413 993911
web: www.tececo.com