Meet some of our presenters. We will be adding to this list as pictures and biographies are submitted. See our full programmme on the programme page.
(Applied Science – International Live Stream) DR Professor JOHANNES LEHMANN, professor of soil biogeochemistry and soil fertility management at Cornell University, received his graduate degrees in Soil Science at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. During the past 10 years, he has focused on nano-scale investigations of soil organic matter, the biogeochemistry of pyrogenic carbon in soil and sustainable landuse in tropical agroecosystems. Dr. Lehmann is a member of the steering group of the International Soil Carbon Network, has testified in the US congress, briefed the President’s council of advisors, was part of Workgroup 2 on Monitoring and Assessment of Sustainable Land Management of UNCCD, and serves on the Technical Management Advisory Committee of USAID’s legume program. Dr. Lehmann has authored more than 200 journal publications, is editor-in-chief of the journal Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems and co-founder of the International Biochar Initiative.
(APPLIED SCIENCE – NSW) DR LUKAS VAN ZWIETEN: Lukas is a Senior Research Scientist with NSW Department of Primary Industries, located at Wollongbar Agricultural Institute since 1995. Recent work on biochar is Internationally Acclaimed and won the 2007 World Environment Day Award “Meeting the Greenhouse Challenge”. Work has been shown on ABCs Catalyst program and on CNN. Biochar research also received a Commendation from the NSW Premier Public Sector Awards. The research directly supports production of renewable energy and climate change mitigation through C sequestration in soil, increased crop production and reduced emissions of soil GHG’s into the atmosphere.
(APPLIED SCIENCE-NSW): DR STEPHEN JOSEPH: holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Metallurgical Engineering & Doctorate in Architecture and Applied Anthropology. He is a Fellow of the Aust. Inst. of Energy, a chartered engineer and has been a senior adviser to both commercial, govt. and non govt. organisations, in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and forestry. He has extensive experience world wide in all forms of renewable energy. He has developed processes and technologies that convert biomass into energy & value added products. These include biodiesel, oil from algae, biomass combustion, pyrolysis & gasification plant, biochar, plastic wood composite, microhydro, wind and solar energy & additives for high strength concretes. He has also developed combustion devices to burn very dilute volatile gases. He has also been involved in multi-country market research into areas related to biochar, waste recycling & renewable energy. He has written over 100 books and articles and lectured and trained other engineers & scientists throughout the world. He was the founding vice chairman of the International Biochar Initiative & co-editor with Dr Johannes Lehmann of the first major publication on biochar. He is now a visiting professor at UNSW, Nanjing Agricultural University & Research fellow at the University of Newcastle & Wollongong & a director of a renewable energy and engine company in the UK. He has been the managing director of a renewable energy company for 23 years & a director of other renewable energy & biochar companies.
(FARMING—WESTERN AUSTRALIA) Doug Pow is a farmer from the lower South West of WA. He was a pioneer of the Marron (freshwater crustacean) industry. That entailed a thorough analysis of the local climate. As a result he planted the first avocados in the lower South West, his study had been in botany, not aquaculture. The avocado industry in the lower South West of WA is now worth $100’s of millions per year. Four years ago he began experimenting with the application of biochar to beef cattle husbandry with profound results way in excess of the original aims, both biologically and economically. Last year the application of biochar has been applied to the culture of avocados on an industrial scale, with the aim of creating a soil more closely approximating the physical properties of the volcanic andisol soil that the avocado evolved in. His experiments with the application of biochar over the last four years have been a continuation of 40 years of adaption to a changing climatic and economic environment.
(SUPPLY CHAIN & POLICY -QLD) Kelly Bryant (Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment, Queensland project officer) I have been working as a soil scientist with the Queensland Government for the past 10 years within the landscape sciences division. I have been involved in a diverse range of work across Queensland from Digital Soils Mapping (using remotely sensed data to model soil attributes), developing indicators to identify wetland soils, salinity risk assessments to writing websites on soil management. In the last 5 years I have also been heavily involved in the Queensland Government Open Data initiative. This initiative aims to make all Qld government data available online and in accessible formats through various platforms. I am currently working with other state teams across Australia to deliver consistent and publically available information on biomass feedstocks through the Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure online platform, as part of the Australian Biomass for Bioenergy Assessment. This assessment will assist project developers make decisions for new bioenergy projects, and provide linkages between potential biomass feedstocks – through the supply chain – to end users.
(Supply Chain & Policy, N.S.W.) – Graham Lancaster moved from environmental science into analytical chemistry in the early 1990s, setting up EAL at Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW. In the mid-90s Graham guided EAL into specialised agricultural analysis primarily related to organic and biological farming. Soil, leaf and compost analysis is designed to enhance soil management and encourage reduced and targeted application of inorganic fertilisers. Join Graham to hear about the latest soil biology and micronutrient testing techniques and capabilities.
(PRODUCTION– VICTORIA) Dr Adrian Morphett holds the position of Principal Environmental Engineer with Earth Systems. In this role, Adrian conducts greenhouse gas and energy audits to comply with the relevant regulations and standards, and provides specialist technical and engineering 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. In 2009, Earth Systems was approach to develop a specific pyrolysis technology to convert woody weeds in rural Victoria to biochar. Adrian and colleagues invented a new technology class to achieve in-situ processing of large woody biomass to biochar and other pyrolysis products. Adrian has continued to work in the bioenergy space developing various technical solutions for challenging waste issues, and continues to consult as a registered carbon and greenhouse gas auditor to various industries with support in an auditor role.
Joerg Werdin (Applied Science- Methods and Results Victoria) Joerg is a trained landscape architect and gardener. Currently he is working on his PhD within the Green Infrastructure Research Group at the University of Melbourne. His research focusses on the adaptation of green roof systems for hot and dry climates by improving the substrate properties with biochar. Before coming to Australia in 2013 he worked as a R&D engineer in Germany on green roof systems and vertical gardens and as a Marie-Curie-Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield/UK, investigating and improving green roof systems in regards to their hydrological behaviour.
(Supply Chain & Policy – Qld) Khory Hancock. Khory grew up on a 30 000 acre cattle property located on the side of Carnarvon Gorge National Park north of Roma, Queensland. I have a double degree in Environmental Science and Environmental Planning from the Sunshine Coast University. I am currently working for Keolis Downer as a Safety, Quality and Environmental Advisor managing the Gold Coast Light Rail Project. I am also a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) at an associate level. I was a committee member of an industry based group aimed to provide workshops on rehabilitation best practise methods (Southern Queensland Land Rehabilitation Group, SQLRG) for a number of years as a volunteer and am also part of Former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, a not for profit group created to inspire action on climate change. I am now part of his project as a Climate Leader and am trained to give an updated version of the presentation he gives in the movie ‘The Inconvenient Truth’. I have worked across a broad range of projects including carbon farming and carbon offsets, coal mining (rehabilitation focused), coal seam gas, pipeline construction and light rail. I now am primarily focused on climate change and use film and social media to raise awareness on the challenges and solutions we face in our future.
(Value Added Bio-Products – NSW) Ronald Alfred Leng is Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at the University of New England (UNE). Ron was born in England and studied Agriculture at the University of Nottingham before coming to Australia in 1959 to pursue a PhD in the Faculty of Rural Science at UNE. On successful completion of his PhD he was appointed Lecturer in Nutrition in 1963 and he was progressively promoted over the next 10 years to a Personal Chair in Nutritional Biochemistry. Ron was the first to be awarded the degree of DRurSc in 1972. He was a member of the Faculty of Rural Science for 37 years. It was as a member of the Faculty that he developed his fascination for and began his research into rumen microbial ecology and the utilisation of poor quality forages by ruminants.
Ron was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1991 for his contribution to development of systems of using poor quality feeds for ruminant meat and milk production in Australia and in developing countries. Ron has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Iowa State University (USA) and Nihon University (Japan).The Australian Society of Animal Production made him a Fellow in 1996. In 2002, he received the Han Award from the Asian-Australasian Association of Animal Production Societies in recognition of his outstanding contribution to animal production which is of international significance.
He has been a consultant to the governments of more than 30 countries through United Nations Development Programs. Ron has published in excess of 500 papers in peer reviewed journals and has published 8 books in areas related to animal production science.
He is nutritional advisor to Olsson’s Pacific Salt.
Peter Burgess (Production – W.A.) 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.
Dr Paul Taylor (Applied Science – NSW) graduated with the University Medal in physics from the University of NSW, recieved a PhD from UNiviersity of Colorado, and worked at Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and MIT. He now lives in both Australia and the U.S., researching and presenting on biochar and climate change.
Don Graves (Applied Science – N.Z.) Don lives in Motueka New Zealand where he’s a plant biologist and soil ecologist specialised in mycorrhizal fungi, revegetation, soil regeneration, cover crops and other conservation agricultural tools including no-tillage and biochar. Don’s research also includes traditional Māori gardening tillage practices, & pre-colonial charcoal soil amendment practices that produced 1,000s of hectares of distinctively dark coloured “para umu” soils. Biochar is an important aid to soil carbon sequestration, nutrient retention, soil structure and soil biological fertility. Don’s research is primarily focus in mycorrhizas and the soil zone adjacent to plant roots has led to pyroneering research using no-tillage direct seed drill technology and ‘no-dig’ seedling transplanting methods to provide the optimal location for biochar to benefit plants and mycorrhizas; and conversely biochar placement to optimise the benefits of root exudates to benefit biochar and the soil biota it can contain. Don’s work was published in a 2013 CRC Press book chapter titled “A Comparison of methods to apply biochar into temperate soils”, in “Biochar and Soil Biota” . See www.mycorrhiziz.wixsite.com/mycorrhizas/biochar
Euan was originally a farmer from Mullewa, Western Australia. Euan holds a degree in Agribusiness, a diploma in Farm Management and has over 25 year experience in agriculture. After leasing the farm at the age of 30 Euan travelled and worked throughout the world until an opportunity arose to work with the French aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres or Doctors without Borders. Euan spent 3 years involved in various logistic, construction and coordination roles supporting medical teams responding to emergencies predominately in Africa and Asia. Since returning home Euan has taken an active interest in carbon and has developed experience in the Australian carbon market and a strong knowledge of the renewable energy sector. He is Co-founder and Director of “Energy Farmers Australia”. Energy Farmers are developing mobile pyrolysis technology, conducting research using biochar in agriculture and horticulture and are working farmers and technology providers to integrate bioenergy and biochar into Australian farming systems.
KATHY DAWSON – Commercial Applications (Methods & Results) Western Australia – Kathy has managed a range of trials in innovative agriculture conducted in the Warren Catchments Council zone, with a particular focus on dung beetles and biochar. Years of investigating the multiple benefits of biochar has resulted in funded trials whose results have stimulated interest in adoption on a commercial scale by an increasing number of producers. The Biochar Network of WA has been formed to capitalise on the growing body of work by individual farmer-researchers, gathering together their results and communicating via a dedicated website to an audience deprived of a cohesive research approach or, previously, an effective means of communicating evolving knowledge.
Dr Terry Rose, Southern Cross Plant Science (Applied Science & Results – N.S.W) is an agronomist with a strong interest in the mineral nutrition of crop plants. He has a particular interest in phosphorus and developing crop cultivars with tolerance to nutrient deficiency stress. Current projects involve, internal nutrient utilization efficiency in crops – what does it really mean and can we exploit genotypic differences, physiology and regulation of phosphorus loading into developing grains, rhizosphere processes in lowland rice production – how do efficient genotypes acquire phosphorus,nutrient stress tolerance traits in Australian native rice, agronomy and nutrition of tea tree, greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation options in subtropical crops (rice, sugarcane, tea tree, coffee, avocado, blueberries, bananas), the impact of composts and biochar on nutrient cycling and soil biology, and the impact of herbicides on soil biology. Prior to undertaking a PhD, he worked as an extension agronomist with NSW Department of Agriculture in Wagga Wagga and then the Hunter Valley, and worked for a private agronomic company in the United Kingdom. From April 2010 until August 2011, he worked in plant biosecurity for Plant Health Australia, a not-for-profit company funded by industry and government based in Canberra.
Applied Science (Discoveries & Results) – France. Suchanya Wongrod is currently a third year PhD student at Université Paris-Est (France). She has a background in Environmental Technology and Management from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand. In 2014, she has been working on the removal of metals from acid mine drainage by using permeable reactive barriers from inorganic materials (fly ash, bottom ash and bentonite clay), organic materials (rice husk, coconut husk and pig manure digestate) and sulfate reducing bacteria for contaminants remediation from wastewater. Since then, she has become more interested in the environmental remediation field. In 2015, she started her PhD on the topic of “Biochar for carbon sequestration and soil remediation” in which she has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The aim of this research is to produce biochar from digestates and use it as as low-cost sorbing material for metals removal from aqueous solutions.
(Applied Science & Results) Dennis Enright, New Zealand Biochar Ltd has a background of more than twenty years’ experience in soil and fertiliser research, organic vegetable production and organic certification. His interest in biochar began in 2008 when our group began the development of a prototype farm scale continuous feed pyrolysis machine along with initiating various experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of biochar in NZ conditions. He is currently collaborating in a research project with Green Net, a Social Enterprise cooperative in Thailand where we are evaluating the use of biochar to enhance the effectiveness of fertiliser nutrients for organic growing, particularly for organic baby corn production. In addition, he has an association with the Warm Heart foundation biochar program.
(Supply Chain & Policy – South Australia) – Dr Ash Martin is the Managing Director of Microbiology Laboratories Australia (Microbe Labs), a world leader in commercial microbiology analysis of soil, fertilisers and compost for agriculture, forestry and the environment. Ash’s broad range of experiences gives him a unique ability to apply science to practical problems. From working in orchards as a boy until completing a PhD in applied soil microbiology (Adelaide), Ash has worked as an experimental scientist (CSIRO), postdoctoral researcher (Monash), technical officer (NSW Agriculture) research officer (CSR Wood Panels) agronomist, farmer and nurseryman. Ash enjoys helping to make soil management and compost production more sustainable by providing tests and expertise to help manage soil and compost microbiology.
(Commercial Trials & Results, Tasmania) Frank Strie is Director of Terra-Preta Developments. He qualified as Forstwirtschaftsmeister/ Master Forester 1983 in Germany, Training Manager in the forest estate of the historic City of Esslingen, Holistic ProSilva style, close to nature forest restoration management. >1987 Frank’s family moved to Tasmania, initially employed as a Training Officer for Tasmanian Forest Industries Training Council, the home a rural residential property in Rosevears.> 1989 Frank established his consulting and training services business, Schwabenforest P/L, responsible forest and land management, operated a mobile sawmill, removed potentially dangerous trees. > Initiator & co-author of the 1994 Faces of Farm Forestry Conference Paper “ProSilva” (quality management in our forests). > 2005 – 2015 President of Timber Workers For Forests Inc. > 2006 – 2009 Director of Responsible Forest Management Australia Limited, trading as FSC Australia. > Since 2007 Terra Preta Developments (TPD), linking whole lifecycle objectives, up-cycling of “unloved biomass”, capturing excess nutrients waste with responsible restoration management. > 2013 & 2015 Frank went on an action-packed study tour in Europe, mingled with leading experts, practitioners, researchers and technology companies to explore cascading values & synergistic uses of Biochar in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. > Ever since July 2014 Frank watched the ‘maiden voyage’ of the Kon-Tiki deep cone kiln, by Hans-Peter Schmidt and Paul Taylor at the Ithaka Institute in the Swiss Alps intensive, collaborative developments of this amazingly simple, mobile and versatile device has spread via Tasmania to about 70 countries. > TPD is developer of the KON-TIKI-TAS deep cone kilns, various models, representing fit for purpose Biochar & Energy / Combined Heat and Biochar technologies like PYREG from Germany.> TPD produce, use and sell FRANK’S CHAR branded Biochar & DesignerChar Products.
(Commercial Trials & Results, South Australia) Greg Butler is a Science graduate from the University of Adelaide with Honours in Organic Chemistry. He is a Life Member and former President of the Adelaide University Science Association and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.Greg has has over 20 years of sustainable technology development experience with commercial agri-technology enterprises and not-for-profit farming associations.He has pioneered low-rate banding of biochar in no-till farming systems and has spent nearly a decade conducting biochar field trials in a range of crops.He is currently working on biochar production projects with industrial partners in the forestry and waste management industries.Greg works primarily in Australia and the US, and currently fulfils several roles including the R&D Manager at the SA NoTill Farmers Association, the Chairman of Clean Carbon and as a member of the Soil Health Agronomy Advisory Council at Cool Planet.
(Applied Science – Discoveries & Results, N.Z.) John McDonald-Wharry completed a doctoral research project in chemistry and engineering at the University of Waikato which was started in 2010. This project involved developing structural models for char chemistry, researching techniques for the characterisation of biomass chars, and the creation of composite materials from carbonised herbaceous leaf fibres. This research also involved chemical analysis of other carbonaceous materials such as activated carbons, carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, carbon fibres and graphites. In 2014, John was able to apply biochar screening and composite formulation know-how from PhD work to create a range of char-based composites from pine biochars produced by Massey University’s New Zealand Biochar Research Centre. John is currently employed on a New Zealand “Additive manufacturing and 3D and/or 4D printing of bio-composites” project involving composite formulation design and material science research.
(Supply Chain & Policy-S.A.) R 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.