(Conference) Prof Michael Bird – James Cook University trained as a geologist at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University, obtaining a PhD in isotope geochemistry in 1988. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, he returned to Australia as research Fellow, Queen Elizabeth II Fellow and Fellow at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University. In 2000 he took up an Associate Professorship in Singapore and in 2004 moved to the Chair in Environmental Change at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He returned again to Australia to take up a Federation Fellowship in the School of Earth and Environmental Science at James Cook University (Cairns campus) in February 2009. His research interests include the terrestrial carbon cycle, biochar, geoarchaeology and understanding the trajectory of past and future environmental change in the tropics.
(Study Tour & Conference) Professor Stephen Joseph – UNSW Stephen’s area of expertise includes, development of processes that recycle or value add to waste especially those that produce energy and a stable carbon that can be utilised to increase food production and help remediate degraded land. Design and evaluation of biogas, biodiesel, bioethanol and bio-oil plants, design and commercialisation of biochar and energy technology from stoves to large scale continuous plant, design and evaluation of waste minimisation processes and plant, development of biochar based integrated vermiculture/ aquaculture /hydroponics systems, design and testing, stoves, dryers, small kilns, furnaces, steam plant, pyrolysis and gasifiers that use biomass, coal, liquid or gaseous fuels, evaluation of biomass feed stocks and processed products, design and testing of advanced gas combustion equipment for turbines and for industrial processes, design of landfill energy systems, design, development and testing of air emissions control systems, impact assessment of toxic wastes and indoor air pollution.
(Study Tour & Conference) Peter Burgess – Rainbow Bee Eater spent 35 years in Australian and international operational, corporate and advisory roles involving conception, feasibility, financing, design, construction, risk management and operation of large mining and manufacturing projects. Peter held senior leadership roles with Alcoa in Western Australia, Victoria and USA, served as Chair of the Federal Government and Industry Light Metals Action Agenda, on the Board of Engineers Without Borders Australia and as consultant to Alumina Ltd and CSIRO Minerals and Energy. Peter believes that Australia, especially rural and regional areas, will gain significant environmental, social and economic benefits by using safe, efficient and clean 21st century technologies for the sustainable production of renewable energy from biomass residues that are currently burnt or landfilled. Peter’s career includes many examples where he has initiated or been a key player in the trialling and development and full implementation of new technologies including many environmental initiatives.
(Study Tour & Conference) Ian Stanley – Rainbow Bee Eater is a third generation farmer, who, with his sons Travis and Clint, owns and operates a 25,000 Ha wheat and sheep farm in Kalannie in the Central Wheatbelt of Western Australia. During his farming career Ian has overseen the expansion of the farm from 5,500 Ha to its present size and planted and integrated over 1.2 million oil mallee trees on the farming property. Ian has become widely recognised as a spokesperson for the integrated farm forestry industry in Australia. In 2003 he was elected as President and Chairman of the Oil Mallee Association of Australia. Ian is passionate about growing small rural communities through new industry and farming enterprises. He has been awarded both the State and National Landcare Awards for Individuals. Nominated for his work in landcare, Ian was 1 of only 80 people selected to run with the Olympic Torch in Australia for the Beijing Olympics. Ian has been a Director of the Central Wheatbelt Football League for 14 years, 9 as Chairman. Ian currently serves on the Boards of RBE, Kalannie Distillers, a local eucalyptus oil manufacturing enterprise and Fares Rural, a company investing in Australian agricultural production.
(Study Tour & Conference) Doug Pow – Powbrook Doug is a Manjimup farmer that has discovered how to store carbon in the soil, reduce methane emissions from his cattle and improve the productivity of his whole farm. The cattle and avocado producer started feeding his cows biochar six years ago to see if he could store carbon in the ground using the natural system of dung beetles. He thought if researchers were burying biochar in the ground with machines in an attempt to store carbon and increase fertility, why couldn’t the dung beetles do it at no cost? Through further testing carried out by UNSW and the NSW DPI, we have now discovered multiple benefits in the soil that we thought were never possible. Doug is also conducting a trial using biochar in growing avocados. After three years, the rows with biochar have set almost three times the amount of fruit compared to the trial. Doug will present on updates with these two methods of growing meat, pastures and tree crops using biochar.
(Study Tour & Conference) DR Lukas Van Zwieten – NSW DPI Lukas’ research focuses on soil processes including C and N cycling, and how these relate to greenhouse gas emissions; contaminants in the soil environment; and unravelling microbial, rhizosphere and soil chemical processes. His research on biochar was acclaimed in the 2007 United Nations’ World Environment Day Award “Meeting the Greenhouse Challenge,” and it has been popularised through the Australian Broadcasting Corporations Catalyst program (2007), a CNN “special report” in 2008, ABC’s Landline (2009) and Discovery Channels “Ecopolis” mini-series in 2009/10. He has published over 90 papers and book chapters and has over 5800 cites (Scholar). He is a Program Leader for the Cooperative Research Centre – High Performance Soils. Lukas will give us an overview on biochar research in 2017-18.
(Conference) Nigel Murphy – Green Man Char Nigel is a Founder and Director of Earth Systems and Cyclic Carbon. For the last decade these companies have been at the forefront of biochar and wood vinegar technology development and production in Australia. He is an Honorary Life Member of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand and has qualifications in environmental and earth science. Nigel will explore how biochar can fulfil its potential. He will identify the barriers to market acceptance and what the industry must do to bring biochar into the mainstream.