Warmer oceans and greener concrete

By Megan Graham. Published at Jan 10, 2019, in The Green Keeper

When we think about the disastrous effect of greenhouse gas emissions, we typically think of what’s being added to the earth’s atmosphere. But new research shows that it’s our oceans that bear the brunt of climate change.

According to the research, led by Prof Laure Zanna, at the University of Oxford, the vast amount of heat created by the rise in greenhouse gases has been absorbed by the oceans — over 90% of it — while just a few per cent have heated the air, land and ice caps. The word absorb may be misleading, as the oceans don’t exactly mitigate the ill effects of global warming, rather they cop more than their fair share of them.

Warmer water is thought to be a cause of more extreme hurricanes and typhoons. Meanwhile, rising sea levels are already displacing whole communities — and the heating of the ocean, along with melting ice caps, is a contributing factor because water expands as it gets warmer.

This week The Guardian published its own analysis on new findings out of the official scientific journal of the US National Academy of Sciences, indicating that anthropologic global warming has heated the planet’s oceans “by the equivalent of one atomic bomb explosion per second for the past 150 years”.

That’s quite a bombshell to drop on you, but that’s just the bad news. The good news is that there’s no shortage of ASX companies looking to tackle the need for carbon emissions reductions head on.

The innovative ASX company below is taking a unique angle in addressing climate related problems.

Green Keeper limelight: Eden Innovations (ASX:EDE)

The A$103 million market-capped Eden Innovations (ASX:EDE) first listed back in 2006 and boasts a long history of developing clean energy technologies.

Technically, EDE is not a pure green energy play, but rather an innovation play with a focus on environmental benefits and sustainability. The stock has been a mainstay in the Australian CleanTech Index for some time (the index is run through the Deloitte Australia Financial Advisory team) and in 2014 was awarded the Civil Contractors Federation's Environment Award.

Its main game is its carbon-based technology that creates greener and superior performance concrete, which considerably reduces the quantities of traditional concrete required.

The creation of concrete contributes up to an estimated 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to Technavio’s ‘Global Concrete and Cement Market 2016-2020’ report, the global concrete and cement market is expected to exceed US$921 billion by 2020.

Wisely, the innovative and green-focused EDE has found its home in a booming industry facing carbon emissions challenges.

The mid-cap has also created its ‘OptiBlendTM Proprietary Air-Gas Mixer Design and Fuel Control Valve’ product, which enables a conventional diesel engine to run natural gas as its primary fuel without modifying the engine or the current diesel fuel system. The benefits of running on natural gas are well known and include lower costs, lower emissions and increased vehicle runtime.

EDE’s pipeline is centred around its Pyrolysis Project, which was developed by the company in collaboration with the University of Queensland. Through the process, methane (natural gas) is broken down into hydrogen gas and carbon, without producing carbon dioxide. I have written about hydrogen’s potential role in cleaner energy production in this column before.

In the case of EDE’s tech, the carbon is made as a solid (nanotubes and carbon nanofibres) for use in manufacturing, which is particularly beneficial due to its strength. According to EDE’s website, the carbon nanotubes and nanofibres are “many times stronger, in certain applications, than steel, whilst each also has a great a capacity to conduct both electricity and heat”. The company also claims its process requires less energy and lower cost equipment compared with other methods of extracting hydrogen.

Not only has the process delivered the company’s ‘greener’ concrete, there are more applications including its HythaneTM technology which provides a low-carbon footprint premium blend of hydrogen and natural gas for cars. The company is already marketing this product in India and US.

EDE has been around for a while, but only now is it beginning to really pick up speed with its EdenCrete® product. In September last year, it announced its first federal funded project, which will see approximately US$525,000 (A$736,700) worth of the product used in a highway repair project in Twiggs County, Georgia (US).

This represented the largest individual contract the company had received for the concrete product, with the share price rise that followed the news prompting a speeding ticket from the ASX.

Since that announcement in September, EDE has gained more than 50%.

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