International Keynote

(Study Tour & Conference) Tom Miles – Chair of International Biochar Initiative is interested in the thermal conversion of biomass for beneficial use. He has expertise in the transformation of ash in wood, straws, stalks, and manures. T. R. Miles, Technical Consultants, Inc., Portland, Oregon, sponsors and hosts internet discussions on biomass energy and biochar. He is on the board of the US Biochar Initiative and a coordinator of the Pacific Northwest Biochar Working Group. He designs systems for biomass processing and handling including densification, carbonization, gasification, power generation, and residue and nutrient management including biochar and composting.

(Study Tour & Conference) Dr Genxing Pan – Nanjing Agricultural University Since 1988, Genxing has been a soil scientist and a director at the Institute of Resources, Environment and Ecosystem of Agriculture, Nanjing Agricultural University. He has been since 2005 an IPCC expert in greenhouse gas mitigation and soil C sequestration, particularly as a CLA of the Supplement to 2006 Guideline of Greenhouse gas Inventory: Wetlands. He has also acted as a major expert in developing low carbon measure of agriculture for 2ndand 3rd China National Assessment of Climate Change Report released in 2009 and 2010, and the Catalog of Key Low Carbon Economy Technologies released in 2013. Since 2009, he has led a group in biochar technologies for recycling biowaste mainly from crop residues and animal husbandry wastes, and in creating novel biochar fertilizers from pyrolysed biowastes for reducing chemical fertilizers. He has profound experience in cooperating with biochar industries from China, on biomass pyrolysis and biochar production for green agriculture. He has been also active in organizing international training and exchanges in biochar science and technology, particularly with Asian and African countries. His teams innovations in biochar production systems, biochar product development and field trials and demonstration have been guiding China’s sector of crop straw recycling and biochar fertilizers application, pushed under the authority of China’s Ministry of Agriculture.

(Study Tour & Conference) Gerald Dunst is the founder and owner of “Sonnenerde” – a soil producing company where 25 different soils based on compost are produced and marketed. Since 2007 he is responsible for the humus-project in the ecoregion Kaindorf in Austria, where 200 farmers with over 2.000 hectares are involved. In this project the farmers earn money for increasing carbon in soils from a new developed carbon credit system. Since 2012 he operates a biochar facility (Pyreg System) and produces 350 tons of high quality biochar per year. Since this time a lot of different products were developed based on this biochar such as Terra Preta, soil-activator, compost-activator, FeedChar  and slurry char. Together with his son DI Dominik Dunst he founded the company “CharLine” to market this biochar products on an international base. 

(Conference) Associate Professor Harn Wei Kua is currently the Assistant Dean (Academic) of the School of Design and Environment of the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is also leading the Smart Materials Laboratory and co-leading the construction 3D printing program in the School. He has 3 Masters degrees (in theoretical physics, civil & environmental engineering, and technology policy) from NUS or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his PhD is in sustainable building technology from MIT. His current research interest is in bio-based building materials and life cycle sustainability assessment. His current focus on bio-based building materials is innovative use of biochar as a sustainable way to recycle biological waste to improve structural integrity and indoor air quality of buildings. Dr Kua has authored about 100 articles and book chapters; in many of these publications, he is either the sole or lead author. He has won more than 60 different international/national academic awards, including several from MIT, and has been invited by local and international organizations to deliver guest lectures and speeches on his research more than 60 times, including as a plenary speaker at the Forum for Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development, workshop on Sustainable Consumption and Production, which was organized by the International Council for Science on 11th June 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (at Rio+20). He consults for the Singapore Government on environmental issues and has helped set up corporate sustainability guidelines for companies with more than SGD 2 billion in combined annual turnover. He is currently involved in collaborations with various groups and universities in China, USA, Italy, Colombia, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia on biochar building materials, sustainable resource management policies and construction 3D printing.

ANZ Keynote



(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.

(Study Tour & Conference) Dr. Alexandru Let – Technical Manager, State Asphalt Services – Kypreos Group – I graduated from Polytechnic Institute Bucharest with degree in chemical engineering and PhD degree from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. My area of expertise includes nanotechnology application in material construction, including development of processes that use recycle materials in construction industry. My experience includes biochar, toner (from recycling cartridge printer) and crumb rubber used as additive in asphalt industry. Recently I joined the Kypreous Group after 9 years with Boral where my last position was National Development Engineer was engaged in research, developing new products.

(Conference) Dr Jorge Paz-Ferreiro – Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) His research is broadly concerned with waste management and its recycling into the soil system. Recently his research is concerned with biochar, a pyrolysis product, which can provide environmental benefits including carbon sequestration, improving soil quality and the remediation of polluted areas.He is interested in organic and inorganic pollutants and their effect on soil biological activity.He has delivered high-profile research outputs since 2007 and has authored or co-authored over 90 peer reviewed publications, with over 2000 citations.A patent was issued to him in 2012 covering a method of ‘agglomerating carbonaceous materials, involving mixing carbonaceous material with sunflower oil’ (Patent ES-2 372 951). A publication listing is available on Google Scholar

Nigel Murphy – Earth Systems 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.

Concurrent Sessions

(Study Tour & Conference) Dominik Dunst, CEO and Co-Founder of “CharLine GmbH” – Dominik has a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Technology Graz, Austria. His Master Thesis was about measuring the efficiency rating over a constant operation mode – which had to be determined first – of high temperature fuel cells (SOEC – producing H2). Soon after getting to know biochar first hand when Sonnenerde built their own Pyreg facility he, together with his father Gerald Dunst founded the company, CharLine. The main focus is to create and market different biochar based products. The first promising product line are so called “FeedChar’s”, an animal feed supplement to maintain or even increase the health status naturally. Products for the pet market (dogs, cats and horses) and also animal husbandry market are available for sales. More product lines with special designer biochars are in the making.

(Study Tour & Conference) Dominik Dunst, CEO and Co-Founder of “CharLine GmbH” – Dominik has a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Technology Graz, Austria. His Master Thesis was about measuring the efficiency rating over a constant operation mode – which had to be determined first – of high temperature fuel cells (SOEC – producing H2). Soon after getting to know biochar first hand when Sonnenerde built their own Pyreg facility he, together with his father Gerald Dunst founded the company, CharLine. The main focus is to create and market different biochar based products. The first promising product line are so called “FeedChar’s”, an animal feed supplement to maintain or even increase the health status naturally. Products for the pet market (dogs, cats and horses) and also animal husbandry market are available for sales. More product lines with special designer biochars are in the making.

(Conference) Dr Adrian Morphett – Green Man Char is an environmental engineer with over 17 years experience in energy and carbon sector. He is specialised in conducting greenhouse gas and energy audits to comply with the relevant regulations and standards; and providing specialist technical, engineering and commercialisation consulting on biomass and bioenergy technologies, and industrial and commercial building energy efficiency projects. Adrian has had a varied career spanning several industries including petrochemical, government, academia, energy design and mechanical drafting.

(Study Tour & Conference) Dr Pia Piroschka Otte -senior researcher at Ruralis – Institute for Rural and Regional Research and NTNU Sustainability Pia has an interdisciplinary research background with a PhD in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Development Studies from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Her work focuses on social science research addressing climate change mitigation in agriculture, energy transitions and sustainable development. She has worked with the socio-cultural and political aspects of biochar implementation in Norway within a national research project (Capture+) that took place from 2014-2017. She currently leads an international research project that investigates the potential of local crowdfunding for financing climate mitigation practices in agriculture ( Her main research interest lies in developing socio-technical concepts that can accelerate the transition towards low emission societies.

(Conference) Dr Mohammad Ghaffariyan has extensive research background in Forestry. He leaded several forest operation research projects in native forests of Iran from 2002 to 2005. He then completed his PhD and post-doc fellowship on forest operations at BOKU Vienna University in Austria from 2005 to 2010. In 2010 he took a research fellowship position at the University of Tasmania to lead the forest operations and biomass harvesting projects. Since 2012 Dr Ghaffariyan has been working at the University of the Sunshine Coast to investigate the efficient and sustainable timber harvesting and forest biomass utilisation which have resulted in significant economic saving and environmental benefits for the Australian forest industry.  He has published more than 70 research articles in various peer-reviewed journals and forestry conferences*.  He also serves as a reviewer/board member to different international forestry journals.

*More details available at

(Conference) James Joyce is a PhD and MBA qualified chemical engineer with nearly 30 years industry experience in a wide variety of roles, in the bioenergy, renewables and sugar milling sectors. His experience spans across R&D, process modelling, design, commissioning, operations/maintenance supervision and commercialisation. James used this experience to co-invent the BIGCHAR continuous carbonisation technology in 2008 and since then has overseen 20 implementations of the technology across eight countries.

(Study Tour & Conference) Melissa Rebbeck directs her company Climate & Agricultural Support Pty Ltd.  In the 4 years her company has been established she has been instrumental in developing and managing projects including; utilising biochar to reduce nitrogen inputs and improve soil health, replicated soil health trials, 10 soil health case studies, implementation of soil moisture probes and feeding biochar to 500 dairy cattle to improve milk quality.  Prior to directing her company Melissa developed and managed multiple projects relating to agriculture and climate variability as a senior researcher for the Uni of Adelaide and the SA Research and Development Institute Melissa is also councillor for the Goolwa Hindmarsh Island Ward of the Alexandrina Council, a beef producer and sits on the board of the South Australian Dairy Industry Fund BoardFleurieu Farming Systems Board, Alexandrina Sustainable Agricultural Round Table, Alexandrina Environmental Group, Ranges to River NRM Group the SA Murray Darling Basin Association, the SA Livestock consultants and the Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Authority.

(Conference) Andre van Zyl – Biodata  Mr. Van Zyl graduated in 1986 as a Chemical Engineer from the “VAAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY” in South Africa. He has substantial experience in process plant design and implementation for the steel, water treatment, mineral processing and mining industry in Africa, Asia and South America. For the past 15 years he has focused substantially and has acquired specialized knowledge and skills in road surfacing technology especially in the development and manufacturing and installation of environmentally friendly emulsified cold road premix material for new urban and remote infrastructure development areas. During the last 4 years, he has been instrumental in the further development and re-design of the Carboncor Technology to suite specific climatic, geotechnical and soil conditions as viable and cost-effective road products in the ASIA region. This lead to numerous specialized Formulation, Stability Testing & Engineering activities of emulsion to design conventional/direct (oil-in-water) emulsions, invert/reverse (water-inoil) emulsions, multiple (water-in-oil-in-water, oil-in-water-in-oil) emulsions and micro emulsions. Following the latest 2 years of active R&D and specific design, a new and revolutionary Carboncor product range of road and construction materials are now available to facilitate installation of an environmentally friendly option to do permanent maintenance/repairs and new road installations in ASIAN urban and extreme remote infrastructure development areas where currently no other cost-effective technology is available for installation of permanent road surfaces.

Annette Cowie has a background in soil science and plant nutrition, with particular interest in sustainable resource management. Annette contributes to development of policy for GHG abatement, including GHG accounting for emissions trading at state, national and international levels. Annette led the New Forests research program in the NSW DPI (2001-2009), researching environmental services from planted forests, and the Applications and Outreach program in the CRC Greenhouse Accounting 2002-2004. Annette was the Director of Rural Climate Solutions, an alliance between NSW DPI and the University of New England 2009- 2014. Annette was a member of interim Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee, assessing methodologies for the Carbon Farming Initiative 2010-2012. Since 2000 Annette has been a member of the International Energy Agency Bioenergy research network “Climate Change Effects of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems”, and currently leads this group. Since 2012 Annette has been the Land Degradation advisor on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility. She is a member of the Science Policy Interface of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

John Thomas PhD GAICD John is a “systems integrator” who brings together projects in the information technology, communications and power sectors. With a PhD in Physical Chemistry and some thirty five years of experience in major project delivery, John is currently leading two projects to establish power generation plants in SA.  Both are proposed to include the creation of bio-char as an important by product. John is a GAICD, and in his spare time works on data security as an Information Security Auditor and Information Security Manager.

Laura Fell MBA FAICD – Laura’s is an experienced director in private and public sector boards and holds a Master of Business Administration. A successful rural producer and businesswoman, she is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. Her interest in biomass and electricity generation is drawn from a passion for assisting sustainability of rural and regional communities.


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