Australia’s Oil Refining Market and Fuel Security Future

August 14th, 2015

Whilst we advocate the use of alternative energy we also advocate the ability for self sustainability. This is an example of a resource rich country not being able to process its own resources and in turn putting it dependence on other countries. Hopefully this rude awakening of an impending risk to fuel security will help drive innovation into alternate forms of energy production.

Image source: FES Tanks

The Ferocity of Mother Nature

January 8th, 2011

I am watching the flood crisis in Australia with personal interest as my home town is only about 1100km away, quite close by Australian standards, and for the fact that mother nature nevers ceases to amaze me with the power that she can deliver.

I am from a engineering background where construction and design is very much structured around formula’s and assumptions based on real life conditions that have happened over our history. Whilst i am governed by this, i always have this underling thought in the back of my mind. It all means nothing because if Mother Nature so chooses to direct its full ferocity towards something, be it a structure or landform, locally, nationallly or globally she will always win. Man does not stand a chance, somethings are just bigger than us, even though we think we are at the top of the food chain, really Mother Nature is.

Just a quick example of this, got this video from my brother who works within the mining regions west of the Rockhampton region. First let me set this video up. This is Baralaba Mine, a classic open cut coal mine. This is a mine where everything is on a grand scale. The excavators buckets are the sizes of houses, and the tip trucks make a london bus look like a childs tonka toy. Bear that in mind when you reference that to the flood waters coming into the mine. Pretty scary stuff…

The end result

Flooded Baralaba Mine after flood defenses fail

These sort of natural disasters are happening more and more. Surely this means something?………

What I wanted for Christmas

December 30th, 2010

Thats it, time is nearly up on another year as the clock draws closer to the end of 2010.

Did everyone get what they wanted for christmas. The older you get the more detached you seem to get from the emotional sense of christmas and more tuned into the overpowering sense of commercialism related to the annual event.  However this year was different as i did have a present i really wanted for xmas. An automatic road paving machine.

Not for everyone, granted, but for us as we are looking at developing Green Pavers for the market, and we like to use the phrase follow the green brick road, imagine how much quicker we would get there with this machine laying them. I love modern man and his ability to mechanise just about everything.

Check out the video to see this machine at its best.

Please will you get me one for next Christmas. I promise i will be a good boy.

Quality Protocols for Fly Ash

November 30th, 2010

What is a Waste Quality Protocol, and how does it relate to Fly Ash?

The Waste Quality Protocol Project is a joint venture initiative between the UK Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the environmental agency that will clearly define the processes required in order to convert a waste product into a non-waste product within specific industries. This enables recycled waste products to be used without the need for waste regulation controls.

Fly Ash or pulverised fuel ash (PFA) and furnace bottom ash (FBA) are the ash bi-products from burning coal within coal fired power stations to produce electricity. Fly ash is the largest commercial/industrial waste stream with the UK, however it is also be recycled into valuable aggregates to be utilised with construction materials.

The quality protocol for Fly Ash is expected to deliver the following benefits:

  • divert approximately 300,000 tonnes of PFA and FBA from landfill per year
  • save businesses £5 million each year, largely due to landfill charges
  • create markets worth over £8.5 million a year
  • save 15,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions annually
  • help save over 425,000 tonnes of virgin raw material

Any protocol guidance that can help deliver these benefits and cut down on the endless paper trail associated with recycled products has to be a step in the right direction.

Please refer to the Environmental Agency for the Pulverised Fuel Ash and Furnace Bottom Ash Quality Protocol

How are Clay Bricks Made?

November 9th, 2010

For those of you who do not know how a traditional brick is made, we would like to share this process with you. The purpose of this blog post is not to go into the positive or negative effects of clay brick making, it is purely to explain the process. Later on we will explain how our process works so you can understand the differences between the two.

Bricks since the dawn of time have been made from material extracted from from the earth. This material is generally clay. The properties of this clay is dependent on the geographical characteristics of the source and the depth of extraction from the earth. Single clays or different clays with different characteristics can be mixed together with the addion of water to produce a green clay base ready for the brick making making process.
Also bricks generally take characteristics from the surrounding clay sources.

Modern day brick making methods generally consist of 2 methods.

  • Extrusion –a long clay column or slug shape is created and then wirecut into individual brick units. Finishes can be smooth, alternatively a surface textures can be applied by the addition of sand or texturing the face e.g. rusticated or dragfaced. The bricks made through this method are typically perforated and may be solid but without frogs (a frog is an indentation in one or more of the bed surfaces of the brick).
  • Soft mud moulding – bricks are formed by mould boxes, this process can either be done by hand by craftsman who produce one brick at a time, or by automation where large numbers of bricks can be produced at one time. Bricks using this method are typically made with frogs although some can be solid.

Once the green clay has been moulded it is effectively baked in huge ovens or kilns over a 3 stage process to cure the clay and produce a brick.

Stage 1.     Pre-heating

This purpose of this stage is to ensure the brick is completely dry. Kilns are kept at temperatures of 80 – 120 ˚ Celsius with high humidity. This allows the brick to dry from the inside out and prevents bursting.

Stage 2.     Firing

The kiln temperatures are then increased up to a range of 900 – 1200˚ Celsius. These temperatures are maintained in order for the clay particles and impurities to fuse together to produce a hard weatherproof material.

Stage 3     Cooling
Air is then drawn into the kiln in a controlled manner allowing for a controlled cooling atmosphere for the bricks. This controlled cooling avoids cracking and or distortion of the bricks. Once cooled the bricks are handled for sorting/packing and distribution.

This drying/curing process generally can take between 18 to 40 hours for standard shapes, and even longer for specialist items.

Clay Brick as a building material works in harmony with other building materials and offers a wide range of colours and varying textures.  It is a solid, permanent and low maintenance material that provides lasting beauty and appreciating value.

Unfired Green Bricks with a Difference.

October 26th, 2010

What do you get when you cross wool, seaweed and clay bricks? A salty furry brick of the future! Sounds more like the dark ages, Maybe not.

In an effort to promote locally sourced building materials & sustainable building, a team of Spanish and Scottish scientists have combined wool fibers and seaweed to produce a composite, sustainable, non-toxic environmentally friendly brick..

Composite Unfired Earth Bricks

The team added wool fibers as well as alginate – a natural polymer found in the cell walls of seaweed – to clay, creating a brick that is 37 percent stronger compared to traditional bricks made using unfired stabilized earth.

“The objective was to produce bricks reinforced with wool and to obtain a composite that was more sustainable, nontoxic, using abundant local materials and that would mechanically improve the bricks’ strength”, said Carmen Galan and Carlos Rivera, researchers at the schools of architecture in the universities of Seville in Spain and Strathclyde in Glasgow, Britain.

They analyzed the impact of strengthening different soil types with sheep’s wool and identified numerous advantages in integrating wool with clay to form compressed bricks.

“These fibers improve the strength of compressed bricks, reduce the formation of fissures and deformities as a result of contraction, reduce drying time and increase the bricks’ resistance to flexion,” they concluded.

The new brick can be manufactured without firing, which results not only in energy savings, but also makes it a sustainable alternative to conventional building materials such as baked earth bricks and concrete blocks.

The findings were recently published in the journal Construction and Building Materials.

What are Bricks?

June 20th, 2010

Come on everyone knows what a bricks is. But in case you were wondering this is the Green Bricks official party line;

The term BRICK describes a form of masonry unit – there being limits to length, height and width.

Larger units are BLOCKS.

The term BRICK does not infer any particular material.

Follow The Green Brick Road

May 1st, 2010

The Green Brick Company and our journey down the Green Brick road is an ever changing one.

Please stay in touch by leaving your details on the email subscription so as to get the latest info on where we are at.