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Keeping you informed about TecEco sustainability projects.  Issue 60, 2006

Crab Consulting


Our greatest needs is money. There is a lot of it out there but between fighting off several parties and trying to stay on top of the science we just have not had time to chase it. To get over this problem my wife and I have started a business we have called crab consulting. The name was chosen simply because we are both chancarions and I started to dream up little slogans such as "We'll cut the red tape" and "We'll grab the money" It is easy to imagine crabs doing such things with their beady eyes and grabby pincers!

We have employed somebody with experience assessing grants in the Australian government and are rapidly moving towards being fully functional. More information at www.crabsconsulting.com

Save our Wikipedia Entry!

We recently inserted an entry in Wikipedia. Unfortunately somebody by the name of Argyriou wishes to delete the entry. We think the name may be a pseudonym for somebody who likes to argue, as there are many made up words like "wiki" in this popular public domain encyclopedia, but are not sure. Please visit Wikipedia and search for Eco-Cement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-cement) as soon as possible and add your comment to the discussion as directed at the top of the article as we think what appeared shown below was reasonable and as non-commercial as possible without loss of meaning. If you are one of a few crazies who wish to sabotage us. Enough is enough - go away!



The inventor of Eco-Cement, John Harrison believes we must put an economic value on carbon to solve global warming. He theorised that by using carbon as a building material there would be sufficient amounts used to reduce the atmospheric concentration of the gas.

John Harrison got the idea of using carbon and wastes in building materials from his observations of nature. During earth's geological history, large tonnages of carbon were put away as limestone and coal by the activity of plants and animals. Shellfish build shells from it and trees turn it into their wood. These same plants and animals wasted nothing, the waste from one was the food or home of another. John concluded that the answer to the problems of greenhouse gas and waste was to use them both in building materials.

Eco-Cement is a new more environmentally sustainable type of cement which incorporates reactive magnesia and wastes. Eco-Cement used to make permeable concretes absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere to set and harden. It can also be recycled back to Eco-Cement. Wastes such as fly and bottom ash, slags etc. can also be included for their physical properties as well as chemical composition without problems such as delayed reactions.

Eco-Cements are made by blending reactive magnesium oxide with conventional hydraulic cements like Portland cement. They are environmentally friendly because in permeable concretes the magnesium oxide will first hydrate using mix water and then carbonate forming significant amounts of strength giving minerals in a low alkali matrix. Many different wastes can be used as aggregates and fillers without reaction problems. The reactive magnesium oxide used in Eco-Cements is currently made from magnesite (a carbonate compound of magnesium) found in abundance.

When added to concrete magnesia hydrates to magnesium hydroxide, but only in permeable materials like bricks, blocks, pavers and pervious pavements will it absorb CO2 and carbonate. The greater proportion of the elongated minerals that form is water and carbon dioxide. These minerals bond aggregates such as sand and gravel and wastes such as saw dust, slags, bottom ash etc.

Eco-Cement can include more waste than other hydraulic cements like Portland cement because it is much less alkaline, reducing the incidence of delayed reactions that would reduce the strength of the concrete. Portland cement concretes on the other hand can’t include large amounts of waste because the alkaline lime that forms causes delayed and disruptive reactions.

The more magnesium oxide in an Eco-Cement and the more permeable it is, the more CO2 that is absorbed. The rate of absorption of CO2 varies with the degree of permeability. Carbonation occurs quickly at first and more slowly towards completion. A typical Eco-Cement concrete block would be expected to fully carbonate within a year. Eco-Cement also has the ability to be almost fully recycled back into cement, should a concrete structure become obsolete.

For further information the reader should refer to Day, K. W. (1999). Concrete Mix Design, Quality Control and Specification, Routledge. Wu, H. C. (2006). Advanced civil infrastructure materials. Science, mechanics and applications. Cambridge, Woodhead. Pearce, Fred. (2002)Green foundations, New Scientist, 13 July 2002, issue 2351, and Independent appraisals by various experts available at the companies web site at www.tececo.com

An Inconvenient Truth

- A Great New Movie

Last night John Harrison went to a special local preview of the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" He was impressed by the professional efficient manner in which former US vice president Al Gore delivered his wake up message to the world.

To view the trailer, visit: http://www.aninconvenienttruth.com.au

According to the official web site, An Inconvenient Truth (David Guggenheim, 2006) is a powerful resource in any investigation of the issue of enhanced global warming.  The film is a 90-minute version of former United States Vice President Al Gore’s modestly described ‘slide show’ about global warming.  In fact the ‘slide show’ is a brilliantly illustrated and animated lecture, interspersed with biographical asides on Gore’s journey to become a passionate advocate of the need for people to act to slow down global warming developments.  The lecture presents a variety of evidence and illustrations of the causes, manifestations and impacts of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the subsequent change to global temperatures.

Progress Report

The established procedure for trying to make something like our concept of using carbon in the built environment stillborn is to confuse the science

It happened with Asbestos and is still going on with the Tobacco companies. With the CO2 and global warming there has been an all out effort to confuse the science funded by usually fossil fuel industry groups that believe they would loose out through emissions reduction. A example of this is the movie "Greening the Planet" financed by the fuel industry that argues that increases in CO2 is a good thing. The Global Climate Coalition of which Exxon Mobil, Chevron and General Motors are the main members has issued many similar confusing reports claiming the benefits of climate change.

In Australia we have the Lavoisier group who as yet (thank god) have not started on me! Unfortunately many in the concrete industry find our theories to improve concretes in some way threatening and at least one group, the BRE in the UK have tried to debunk the idea.

Figure 3 in the BRE (British Research Establishment) report "Environmentally friendly MgO - based cements to support sustainable construction"

Prepared for: Peter Concannon DTI By Dr Keith Quillin and Dr Richard Nixon, BRE Scientists and released on the 23rd March 2006.

Is very wrong and a correction has been loaded on our web site at www.tececo.com and is downloadable under "Tools"

Our problem is that the report has been spread around the concrete industry, and it is just plainly wrong. We have been asked by many in the industry to write a rebuttal and we will, until we have the time readers will have to make do with the first installment. Nothing personal. What is wrong is wrong and requires correction.

The main problem with the BRE spreadsheet that created their all important figure 3 in their report cited above is that it assumes that all PC carbonates.

This is not a valid assumption and out spreadsheet corrects the error. Although calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) does carbonate it does so very slowly depending on permeability. The literature also suggests that there are limits to the loss of calcium by CSH and not all carbonates. On the other hand the CH (Portlandite or Ca(OH)2) component of PC carbonates readily and in materials permeable to air (and water in the case of drier concretes) within 50 years as does MH (Brucite or Mg(OH)2).

Our spreadsheet which can be downloaded from our web site has therefore corrected this error. It now only consider the CH component of PC and the MH and CH components of 2MgO:1PC. The TecEco kiln produces MgO without release of CO2 to the atmosphere and the user of the corrected spreadsheet has the choice of whether to use the kiln or not.

We do not necessarily agree with the BRE math, particularly as it assumes all rates of carbonation are the same but in all other respects it has not been changed. Regardless of whether the TecEco kiln is used or not 2MgO:1PC Eco-Cement is superior in the long term. Please contact us if you believe any further corrections are required.

Geomimicry - Geological History Repeating Itself in Concrete?

By John Harrison. Managing Director of TecEco

Tim Flannery, author of "The Weathermakers" and many others are doing an excellent job of publicising the severity of the global warming crisis At TecEco appear to be failing as unfortunately many, including Tim, have not in the past been aware that there is a way of removing the CO2 from the air and potentially making money at the same time. Doing this will not happen because it is the right thing to do. It can only happen as part of our industrial ecology.

There is a way of removing CO2 from the air and potentially making money at the same time. Doing this will not happen because it is the right thing to do. It can only happen as part of our industrial ecology.

The key is to find ways of adding value to CO2 as otherwise there is no economic incentive to remove the gas from the air. Humans in a globalist world are "slaves to economics" and can not collectively do much without economic benefit. The longer term factors that concern survival cannot be measured in markets and have for many years been disregarded.

Fortunately carbon is a component of many useful compounds. Both organic and many inorganic compounds contain atoms of it derived from new or fossil CO2. We need to figure out which of these compounds are or could be more useful and try and incorporate more of them into our industrial ecologies. TecEco and other members of the Global Sustainability Alliance have embarked on the ambitious Gaia Engineering project to develop tececologies that use more CO2 than they produce. Fortunately there is much other research happening in this area. Genetic modification of blue green algae so they produce cellulose is another example a promising innovation.

What we need is a process with huge flows involved and Gaia Engineering achieves this. TecEco's contribution has been to provide a way of using CO2 to cement together the built environment. The largest flows on the planet are of materials used to construct the built environment, so using carbonate in substitution makes a great deal of sense. Learning to use CO2 as a resource is going to become the most important lesson of the century.

The idea of using carbonate is not new. There have been many previous epochs where the earth has warmed and much carbonate has been precipitated during these periods. Some 7% of the crust is carbonate sediment. Now we have such a big influence on the planet we are going to have to take the initiative and find economic ways of producing carbonate on a similar scale. Magnesium is the best choice of a binding atom and there are unlimited supplies in seawater. Using the new Greensols process from our alliance partner Greensols and waste acid the magnesium can be precipitated out as useful, and more importantly valuable carbonate. This process copies what has occurred naturally in the past and geomimicry is a new word akin to "biomimicry" invented by Janine Benyus that I have invented to describe processes that in such a manner mimic natural geological processes.

We make more concrete than anything else. If carbonates as suggested by TecEco were used instead of silicates as binders for concrete they would mimic the natural geological process of sequestering carbon.

Various authors have attempted to model the earths rock cycle whereby rocks are made and remade. Unfortunately nobody yet has come up with rates of sedimentary carbonate deposition, although approximations of oceanic uptake have been developed as a result of CO2 modeling. The interesting question is to what extent the flows involved by producing carbonate bound concretes would make a difference.

If concretes were held together by carbonates using Eco-Cements then some 15% of their mass would absorb CO2. If the gas is captured as source during the manufacture of Eco-Cements then there would be significant geomimicry of natural sequestration processes.

According to Richard Haughton (1) at the Woods Hole Institute, total global carbon cycle flows are:

Atmospheric increase


Emissions from fossil fuels


Net emissions from changes in land use


Oceanic uptake


Missing carbon sink

3.2 (±0.2)


6.3 (±0.4)


2.2 (±0.8)


2.4 (±0.7)


2.9 (±1.1)

Figure 1 - The Carbon Cycle (Haughton 2005) in billion metric tonnes or petograms

Converting to tonnes CO2 in the same units by multiplying by 44.01/12.01, the ratio of the respective molecular weights.

Atmospheric increase


Emissions from fossil fuels


Net emissions from changes in land use


Oceanic uptake


Missing carbon sink

11.72 (±0.2)


23.08 (±0.4)


8.016 (±0.8)


8.79 (±0.7)


10.62 (±1.1)

Figure 2 - The Carbon Dioxide Cycle (Haughton 2005) in billion metric tonnes or petograms.

From the above the annual atmospheric increase of CO2 is in the order of 12 billion metric tonnes.

If concretes were held together by carbonate, how much would we need to reverse global warming?

MgO + H2O => Mg(OH)2 + CO2 + 2H2O => MgCO3.3H2O
40.31 + 18(l) => 58.31 + 44.01(g) + 2 X 18(l) => 138.368 molar masses.
44.01 parts by mass of CO2 ~= 138.368 parts by mass MgCO3.3H2O
1 ~= 138.368/44.01= 3.144

12 billion tonnes CO2 ~= 37.728 billion tonnes of nesquehonite binder in concrete

This is much more than the current production of cement (2.1 billion tonnes), so total use of carbonation for binders would alleviate, but not solve the problem.

How much carbonate would have to be deposited to solve the problem?

MgO + H2O => Mg(OH)2 + CO2 + 2H2O => MgCO3
40.31 + 18(l) => 58.31 + 44.01(g) + 2 X 18(l) => 84.32 molar masses.
CO2 ~= MgCO3
44.01 parts by mass of CO2 ~= 84.32 parts by mass MgCO3
1 ~= 84.32/44.01= 1.9159
12 billion tonnes CO2 ~= 22.99 billion tonnes magnesite

The density of magnesite is 3 gm/cm3 or 3 tonne/metre3

Thus 22.9/3 billion cubic metres ~= 7.63 cubic kilometres of magnesite are required to be deposited each year. Compared to the over seven cubic kilometres of concrete we make every year, the problem of global warming looks surmountable. If magnesite was our building material of choice and we could make it without releases we would have the problem as good as solved!

Even though Greensols will produce magnesite, it will need to be reprocessed to be used as a binder and that is where the TecEco Tec-Kiln technology that does not release CO2 shines. Greensols, The TecEco kiln and TecEco-cements are all part of a tececology alliance members call Gaia Engineering. A whole host of related technologies, working together in what we call a tececology that reverse the flow of carbon and wastes were required. TecEco went out looking for adjunct technologies and that is how we have developed the concept of tececology and undertaken Gaia Engineering

The Gaia Engineering (formerly CarbonSafe) Process is not a single process or paradigm but a tececology which embraces a number of new technical paradigms and processes designed to solve global warming and waste problems by changing the flows involved. Gaia Engineering will work because combined correctly these new processes will allow people to make money using them.

If adopted on a large scale the Gaia Engineering tececology would sequester significant amounts of atmospheric CO2 and convert significant wastes to resources. Gaia Engineering is an agglomeration of new technologies including TecEco’s kiln technology and cements, carbon dioxide scrubbing technology, a seawater separation technology from Greensols Pty. Ltd and heat transfer and desalination technologies that can produce fresh water, a number of industrial commodity products including gypsum, sodium bicarbonate and various other salts as well as building materials based on magnesium carbonates that also utilize wastes. Each of these outputs uniquely provides revenue to help make the overall process economic.

(1)Haughton, R. (2005). Understanding the Global Carbon Cycle, Woods Hole Institute.