497 Main Road
Tasmania 7010 Australia
Phone: 61 3 62497868 (am)
Phone: 61 3 62713000 (pm)
Fax: 61 3 62730010

Printed in cyberspace on recycled electrons

Keeping you informed about the TecEco Cement project.   Issue 32,   7th March 2004

Meeting to Plan a One Day Seminar on Materials in the Built Environment

Would any of our readers who are interested in actively participating in the planning of a one day Seminar (2 day Conference?) about sustainable materials in the built environment to be held probably in November 2004 please contact either Indubhushan Patnaikuni or John Harrison as soon as possible as there will be a meeting at RMIT University, Thursday, 18 Mar 2004, 4:00pm (AUS Eastern Standard Time) in the CivGeo_Conference_Room_10-12-33 to establish a committee.

Dr. Indubhushan Patnaikuni
School of Civil and Chemical Engineering
RMIT University
124 La Trobe Street
Victoria 3000

Tel.: +61 3 9925 2197
Fax.: +61 3 9639 0138

John Harrison B. Sc. B.Ec FCPA
TecEco Pty. Ltd.
497 Main Road.
Tasmania 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
email: Go to the contact page on the TecEco web site.

Mark Twain Seriously Got it Wrong

"Everybody is talking about the weather but nobody does anything about it."

-- Mark Twain

"TecEco are doing something about the weather by developing materials that abate or sequester carbon in the built environment."

-- John Harrison

New Report Defines the Problems - TecEco Defines the Solutions

According to a new report "Global Change and the Earth System - A Planet under Pressure" IGBP SCIENCE No. 4 (1) funded largely by the Swedish Government our planet is cha7nging quickly. In recent decades many environmental indicators have moved outside the range in which they have varied for the past half-million years. We are altering our life support system and potentially pushing the planet into a far less hospitable state.

Global population has tripled since 1930 to more than six billion and will continue to grow for several decades, and the global economy has increased more than 15-fold since 1950. This progress has however had wide-ranging impacts on the environment. Atmospheric composition, land cover, marine ecosystems, coastal zones, freshwater systems and global biological diversity have all been substantially affected.

"The world faces significant environmental problems: shortages of clean and
accessible freshwater, degradation of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, increases
in soil erosion, loss of bio diversity, changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere,
declines in fisheries, and the possibility of significant changes in climate. These
changes are occurring over and above the stresses imposed by the natural
variability of a dynamic planet and are intersecting with the effects of past and
existing patterns of conflict, poverty, disease, and malnutrition."

The Earth is a well-connected system. Carbon dioxide emitted in one country is rapidly mixed throughout the atmosphere, and pollutants released into the ocean in one location are transported to distant parts of the planet. Local and regional emissions create global environmental problems.

The relationship between the biosphere-geosphere (the earth an all natural things in it) and technosphere (our material world) is fundamentally affected by the way we make and use materials as they control how long they remain in the technosphere and their shape and molecular form on exit back to the biosphere-geosphere.

The built environment including buildings and infrastructure accounts for some 70% of all materials flows in the global economy. It is our footprint on earth. As such it represents an enormous opportunity for sustainability.

Of all building materials concrete, routinely made of sand cement and gravels, is the most ubiquitous. Over six cubic kilometers are poured a year . There is tremendous scope to add strength and improve other properties through the addition of other substances including wastes, many of which would add tensile strength, insulating capacity or reduce weight.

Materials such as the new magnesian Tec, Eco and Enviro-Cements from TecEco will have an important role in the development of these new high performance composite materials of the future as they not only absorb carbon dioxide in bricks, blocks, pavers, mortars and pervious pavement, but also improve the properties of concrete, allow the incorporation of a wider range of materials including wastes, and solve workability, durability and performance, shrinkage and cracking problems.

Governments Must Get Involved to Induce Change Toward Sustainability More Quickly

The democratic system has a fatal flaw in that the outlook of politicians and therefore governments is usually not much beyond the next election. As a consequence policy is generally extremely short sighted and too directly connected to the needs of the here and now rather than mindful of the future. Problems on a global scale are not just the concern of one or two countries but all people on the planet. World federalists believe we need a system of democratic global governance on top of (not instead of) national governments. Such a system would provide enforceable legal mechanisms for resolving conflicts and safeguarding the environment. Perhaps they have a point.

In spite of the two UN ‘Habitat’ conferences on urban prospects (2), cities have not been given serious attention in the mainstream sustainability debate. For example the World Conservation Strategy of 1980, which first used the term “sustainable development,” paid little attention to accelerating urbanization. The Brundtland report (3) did discuss the issue, but the main emphasis was on the “urban crisis in developing countries.”

The fact that the role of cities, and in particular rich cities has basically been neglected is difficult to reconcile with physical reality.

“The world population reached 6 billion in 1999.….At the current rate the world will have 7 billion people soon after the year 2010. The overwhelming share of world population growth is taking place in developing countries (…95.2% in 1990-2000; 97.6% in 2000-10; and 98.4% in 2010-20). The population of developing countries has more than doubled in 35 years, growing from 1.89 billion in 1955 to 4.13 billion in 1990.

Significant proportions of population increases in the developing countries have been and will be absorbed by urban areas (…71.8% in 1990-2000; 83.4% in 2000-10; and 93.4 in 2010-20). Urban settlements in the developing countries are, at present, growing five times as fast as those in the developed countries. Cities in the developing countries are already faced by enormous backlogs in shelter, infrastructure and services and confronted with increasingly overcrowded transportation systems, insufficient water supply, deteriorating sanitation and environmental pollution.(4)

Since the wealthiest 25 percent of the human population consume 80 percent of the world’s economic output (5), approximately 64 % of the world’s economic production/consumption and pollution is associated with cities in rich countries. Only 12 percent is tied to cities in the developing world (6). In short, “half the people and three-quarters of the world’s environmental problems reside in cities, and rich cities, mainly in the developed North, impose by far the greater load on the ecosphere and global commons(7) ”.

It is time for governments to take an active role, to recognize their responsibility to seek sustainability as a cornerstone to all government expenditure and policy and facilitate economic systems that encourage sustainability such as carbon trading and deposit legislation.

Sustainable Building Technologies Must be Economically Viable to Succeed

Even though governments through policy can introduce change that brings about economies of scale it is important that building technologies that seek sustainability are also fundamentally economic otherwise they are not viable in the long run.

There is a strong need to kick the fossil fuel habit however this is unlikely to happen unless alternative sources of energy become more economical. “This may be sooner than we think as “just under half of the world’s total endowment of oil and gas has been extracted already, and that output will begin to decline within the next five years, pushing prices up sharply.(8) ” Most geologist however concur that thirty rather than five years is more likely.

“Complementary to traditional areas of energy research, such as improving energy efficiency or shifting to renewable or nuclear energy sources, carbon sequestration will allow continued use of fossil energy, buying decades of time needed for transitioning into less carbon-intensive and more energy-efficient methods for generating energy in the future.(9)

Even if we do kick the fossil fuel habit it will take centuries to bring the carbon balance back down to levels in the 50’s and the need for sequestration technologies will remain.
Combined with chemical sequestration based on magnesium silicates such as forsterite or serpentinite the potential sequestration utilizing TecEco technology is massive. The role of governments is to facilitate economic valuation of this common good through systems such as carbon trading.

A major advantage of the TecEco technology over all other sequestration and abatement proposals it that the technology itself is viable even without a value being placed on abatement and sequestration. One of the greatest advantages of the magnesian Tec, Eco and Enviro-Cement technologies is that given economies of scale they are thoroughly economic and will bring improvements in the material properties of concrete. (The Full paper Titled "Magnesian Cements – Fundamental for Sustainability in the Built Environment" is downloadable from The TecEco Web Site)

Where are all the investors with a care about our planet?


(1) http://www.igbp.kva.se/cgi-bin/php/publications_books.show.php?section_id=48&article_id=105&onearticle=, download the summary from http://www.igbp.kva.se/cgi-bin/php/frameset.php)

(2) Vancouver in 1976 and Istanbul in 1996

(3) In 1983 the United Nations appointed an international commission to propose strategies for "sustainable development" - ways to improve human well-being in the short term without threatening the local and global environment in the long term.The Commission was chaired by Norwegian Prime-Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, and it's report "Our Common Future", published in 1987 was widely known as "The Brundtland Report."

(4) http://www.unchs.org/habrdd/global.html, valid as at 22/02/04

(5) WCED 1987

(6) Rees,W. E. (1999) The Built Environment and the Ecosphere: A Global Perspective, Building Research and Information 27: (4/5): 206-220

(7) Rees, W. E. (1997) Is “sustainable city” an oxymoron? Local Environment 2, 303-310.

(8) According to Dr. Colin Campbell, a petro-geologist in and article titled How Long Can Oil the Last, The Sunday Business Post 27th October 2002

(9) Chemical And Geologic Sequestration Of Carbon Dioxide, at http://www.netl.doe.gov/products/r&d/annual_reports/2001/cgscdfy01.pdf , page 7 valid 28 Dec 03.

Funding Assistance Required to Support New Research Projects

It is essential that more money is raised soon from stakeholders to support research and development projects now being considered RMIT university in Australia that the company will commit to.

It is proposed to support three PhD students at the rate of $ 10,000 per annum each. The projects include




Please contact the managing director John Harrison if you are interested in supporting this research.

John Harrison To Travel to USA, Canada, the UK and Taiwan

John is about to travel again in his efforts to rise to the challenge of changing the world.

If anybody would like to catch up with him his itinerary is as follows.

Thursday 18 March

0855 Depart Hobart QF 1664, 1005 Arrive Melbourne
Business in Melbourne. Meetings with RMIT

Friday 19 March

1030 Depart Melbourne QF 424, 1150 Arrive Sydney
1535 Depart Sydney, 1000 Arrive Los Angeles

Discussions with San Bernardino County Officials

Saturday 20 March

0833 Depart Orange County California AA 3188, 0948 Arrive San Jose
Discussions with Staff of San Jose University

1206 Depart San Jose AA 2218 1812 Arrive Chicago
Attend and speak at International Symposium on Advances in Concrete Through Science and Engineering, March 22-24, 2004 (Evanston, Illinois)

Thursday 25 March

1150 Depart Chicago AA 744, 1446 Arrive Montreal
Business Meetings, discussions with Discovery Channel

Saturday 27 March

2025 Depart Montreal BA 94

Sunday 28 March

0900 Arrive London BA 94
Meetings with MIRO, CIRIA and the BRE

Friday 02 April

1305 Depart London CX 252

Saturday 3 April

0800 Arrive Hong Kong
0900 Depart Hong Kong CX 530
1045 Arrive Taipei

Discussions with Taiwanese business people

Monday 05 April

2035 Depart Taipei CX 531
2220 Arrive Hong Kong
2345 Depart Hong Kong CX 101

Tuesday 06 April

0610 Arrive Sydney
Meetings with Company Solicitor (Warren Kalinko) and others

1530 Depart Sydney QF 1713
1720 Arrive Hobart

Some rest at last!