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) 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

(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.

(Conference) A/Prof Kalpit Shah – RMIT University is an Associate Professor and Theme Leader for Waste and Resource Conversion Technologies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering discipline at RMIT University, Melbourne. His current research projects and career interests include the fundamental and applied research in the area of advanced thermochemical conversion systems. He has gained over 18 years of valuable research and industrial consultancy experience. A/Prof Shah’s assets are the sound fundamental chemical engineering knowledge and innovations in the process engineering and energy field together with first-rate hands on experience in industry type R&D projects. A/Prof Shah also has contributed to process/reactor design, project management, installation and commissioning activities in chemical/petrochemical/energy industries as well as underwrote several patents in Australia and overseas. He is currently developing a novel pyrolysis technology for converting biosolids to biochar.

International Concurrent

(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) Kristin Trippe – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a Research Soil Microbiologist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service based in Corvallis, Oregon. Her laboratory has been studying the ability of biochar-based amendments to improve the health of marginal and degraded soils for several years. She is particularly interested in the developing protocols that help influence the microbiome of degraded lands. Kristin serves as a Board Member of the US Biochar Initiative and is the Chair-elect of the Soil Biology and Biochemistry Division of the Soil Science Society of America.

(Conference) Mauro Giorcelli is a Resercher at Politecnico di Torino (Italy) in the Department of Applied Science and Technology (DISAT). He is an Electronic Engineering and he has got his PH.D. in Physic in 2009. He is carbon material specialist with over 70 papers in international peer reviewed journal with over 600 citations. He is active member and co-founder of Carbon Group at Politecnico di Torino. This group is composed of carbon material specialists where all the aspects of carbon are investigated in the optic of possible applications. His collaborative network moves from north America to Asia through a massive number of European Universities. He is active in the field of composite material for special applications. Because this he is member of MODCOMP European H2020 project. In the recent years, his research activity was focused mainly on the use of Biochar in composite as alternative, low cost and not oil based carbon filler. Because this, he organized in the 2018 the “Biochar day” at University of Toronto in collaboration with Prof Charles Jia and Prof Franco Berruti in order to create a Canadian network of biochar specialists. He won several Erasmus + projects that permit to travel in Asia and Canada to consolidate his collaborations. He is regularly invited in conferences as speaker where he promotes the use of biochar as possible alternative filler in composites to improve mechanical and electrical properties.

(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) Andre van Zyl – CarbonCor Australia  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.

(Conference) Gordon Hirst – Chang Mai University an Engineer by profession specializing in automation, manufacturing systems and special purpose machinery. During a stint as Chief Engineer for the Laos Institute for Renewable Energy, in Vientiane Laos PDR, developed and interest in Improved Charcoal Production Systems (ICPS) and soon after became involved with biochar. After working as the Environment Program Manager at Warm Heart  Foundation, up in the far North of Thailand went on to develop his own biochar program, along with his wife, whose family farms in Eastern Thailand. Also working as a Research Associate at Chiang Mai University Faculty of Economics, researching biochar value chains.

(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) 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) Stuart Larsson, SOFT Agriculture Pty Ltd started developing Mara Seeds in 1967 initially as a primary production unit and then the addition of a value adding facility was developed. The land base for primary production has expanded from 200 hectares to 3000 hectares in that time. Over the past twenty years, the business has changed direction to organic agriculture, building a 750-breeder herd which grain assists progeny for a supermarket chain, a soybean production area of 816 hectares, maize and pasture seed area of 300 ha, as well as a hay and compost production system which is managed under the trademarked SOFT (Sustainable Organic Farming Techniques) management system. In 2012, SOFT Agriculture Pty Ltd was established as a marketing arm of Mara Seeds Pty Ltd. SOFT Agriculture’s vision is to offer farmers access to Biochar activated “carbon-smart” innovations that deliver superior animal and soil health productivity.

(Conference) Dr Shahla Hosseini Bai – Central Queensland University. Shahla’s research spans the areas of soil-plant sciences in diverse ecosystems including agroforestry, horticulture, agriculture and forest both nationally and internationally. Her research on biochar includes understanding C and N cycling leading to improve soil health and crop yield. She also leads a small research group aiming to develop and implement image techniques including the research application of hyperspectral Imaging to rapidly predict plant stress, soil nutrient concentration, fruit set and food quality.  She has published over 70 papers and book chapters. She was awarded John Dillon Fellowship in 2018 by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, a distinguished fellowship for an outstanding scientist. Shahla will present the effects of biochar application on soil N and crop yield using meta-analysis.

(Conference) Robert Martinovic – Downer Group With a chemical engineering background, Rob has been with Downer for more than 11 years, in a range of roles including the design and commissioning of wastewater and recycling plants across Australia. More recently he spent five years in operations management in the Pilbara in remote WA, and now heads up the gasification initiative within Downer.

(Conference) Dr Lokesh Padhye – University of Auckland is currently a Senior Lecturer and environmental engineering group leader. He obtained his Masters and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. He is also a registered professional engineer (P.E.) with Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Prior to joining the University of Auckland, he worked as a senior staff environmental engineer with Geosyntec Consultants (Atlanta) and as an Assistant Professor at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay for one year. Dr Padhye is also a Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2016-present) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. One of his research areas is focussed on understanding and manipulating the surface chemistry of carbon adsorbents for target contaminant removal from aqueous media. His research group is specifically interested in studying surface functional groups of carbon materials, their interactions with the surrounding environment and contaminants, and probing chemisorption through a fundamental understanding of molecular-level interactions.

(Conference ) Louisa Kiely – Carbon Farmers of Australia Director of Carbon Farmers of Australia, Louisa is known for activity to get farmers paid fairly for the reduction of emissions and carbon sequestration on farm. She has organised and run eight carbon farming conferences, and submitted the first Soil Carbon Methodology to the then Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee. She has up-to-date knowledge of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) policy and has four government ERF contracts with landholders. Louisa is keen to progress the common goals of Australian Farmers for Climate Action and Carbon Farmers of Australia. 

(Conference) James Joyce – Pyrocal 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.

(Conference) Annette Cowie – Bioenergy Australia 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.

(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) Laura Fell – Environmental Energy Australia – 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.

(Conference & Study Tour) Kathy Dawson – Biochar Network of Western Australia Inc After a career in education, for the past ten years Kathy has been involved in promoting regenerative agriculture practices through Warren Catchments Council, a community-governed natural resource management organisation. Kathy recognised biochar’s potential as an important tool in farmers’ toolkit to assist in building soil carbon, the foundation of soil fertility. It is also a significant player – in its production and multiple uses – in carbon drawdown, the urgency of which is seemingly recognised more by grassroots than current Australian governments. Kathy is very concerned that farmers are not sold silver bullets which has led to the formation of the Biochar Network of Western Australia, of which she is currently the Chair, where personal experiences are shared to assist in building a community of knowledge. Some of this information has stemmed from trials Warren Catchments Council has secured funds to undertake: biochar in dairies (using Doug Pow’s experience with his beef herd) and Doug’s ground-breaking avocado trial.

(Conference) John Thomas – Environmental Energy Australia 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.

(Conference) Tom Vogan – Energy Farmers (right) – Grew up on a farm near Lancelin, WA. Since studying Mechanical Engineering at UWA and graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering. Tom has worked in the mining industry as an Engineer and Project Manager in construction and maintenance of heavy engineering plants for 11 years. More recently Tom has spent 6 years working for a large engineering consultancy gaining experience in feasibility studies and project development. Through his construction experience, Tom has gained experience in fabricating, constructing and commissioning process plants. In addition, Tom’s recent experience has provided him with a good understanding of the requirements for project development including environmental, technical and economic project drivers.

(Conference) Euan BeamontEnergy Farmers Originally a farmer from Mullewa, Western Australia, Euan holds a degree in Agribusiness, a diploma in Farm Management and has over 20 years’ experience in agriculture. Euan leases his farm to local farmers from Mullewa and takes a keen interest in the West Australian agriculture industry. Euan has worked for a large offsetting company in WA, has studied carbon accounting and reporting and has a strong knowledge of the Australian carbon market. Euan has experience in business development, stakeholder engagement, public relations, marketing and international logistics. Euan also participates on the board of Biochar Network of WA and Geraldton Community Energy and is a Task Force Group Member for the Australian/New Zealand Biochar Initiative. Together, we have combined our agriculture and engineering skills to design and develop bioenergy and biochar projects in regional areas of Australia.

(Conference) Sara Tahery –  University of New South Wales is a research fellow in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales. I have been characterizing the physico-chemical and micro-structural properties of several environmental samples, including biochar, soil and biological samples, using a wide range of microscopic (SEM and TEM), spectroscopic (FTIR, Raman, EPR and XPS) and chromatographic (LC-OCD) instruments since 2016. My PhD is in developing and characterizing mixed-feedstock-biochars, using advanced analytical techniques, from UNSW. I have conducted a few laboratory bench studies to investigate the effect of biochars, NPK granules and NPK coated biochars on soil pH and EC, available mineral nutrients and dissolved organic compounds. I have also developed organo-mineral biochars for soil application, through thermal processing of municipal solid waste.

(Conference) Kelly Wickham – Sustainabiltiy Victoria Environmental sustainability project manager with over 15 years’ experience working within government providing advice and delivering programs to business, industry and government. Breadth of experience across sustainability project management for these sectors includes a focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency, environmentally sensitive design, organic waste recovery and carbon management. Lead Auditor Environmental Management Systems, course committee member of 1st Carbon Accounting Course in Victoria and Certificate in Facilitation.  With degrees in Environmental Policy and Postgraduate Diploma in Environment, the Programs Advisor is committed to the market development of bioenergy and other measures that demonstrate circularity.

(Study Tour & Conference) Frank Strie – Terra Preta Developments Since 1989 Frank Strie isDirector of Schwabenforest Pty Ltd, later Terra-Preta Developments, and now in a joint venture also Managing Director of Charline Australia. Frank qualified as Forstwirtschaftsmeister/ Master Forester 1983 in Germany, Training Manager in the forest estate of the historic City of Esslingen, Holistic ProSilvastyle, 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.2006 – 2009 A 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. Since 2014 TPD develop and market various models of KON-TIKI-TAS deep cone kilns, TPD represent state of the art PyCCS technology providers  Combined Biochar & Energy technologies such as PYREG from Germany, SynCraft from Austria. TPD produce, use and sell FRANK’S CHAR branded Biochar & DesignerChar Products. Charline AU – The whole range of top quality FeedChars for pets, livestock, poultry, fish. 

(Conference)Shefali Aktar – RMIT University is currently a PhD student in the School of Engineering under the Discipline of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. She is doing her PhD under the supervision of Dr Jorge Paz-Ferreiro. She obtained her Bachelor in B.Sc. Agriculture and Masters in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University(HSTU), Dinajpur, Bangladesh. Prior to joining the PhD, she worked as an Assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Bangladesh. One of her research interest is to focus on understanding and characterizing the waste materials such as biosolids and the effects of heavy metals on the soil. Her research group is specifically interested in studying the fundamental and applied research in the area of advanced thermochemical conversion systems such as pyrolysis, Hydrothermal carbonization.

(Conference) John McDonald-Wharry – University of Waikato started his PhD research project in 2010. This project involved developing nanostructural models for carbonised biomass (chars) and the creation of composite materials from carbonised herbaceous leaf fibres. This research resulted in publications on the chemical analysis of carbonaceous materials such as biochars, graphene oxides, activated carbons, carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, carbon fibres and graphites. In 2014, John was able to apply biochar screening and composite formulation know-how from his PhD project to create a range of char-based composites from pine biochars produced by Massey University’s New Zealand Biochar Research Centre. John graduated with a PhD in 2015 and is currently employed as a scientist on a New Zealand SfTI National Science Challenge project titled “Additive manufacturing and 3D and/or 4D printing of bio-composites”.

(Conference) Ekaterina Selezneva (B. Env. Eng.) RMIT University is a PhD candidate with a keen interest in reuse and utilisation of waste. During her undergraduate degree, Ekaterina worked on a research project in biodigestion of grease trap waste. During her honours, Ekaterina produced biochar from seaweed waste and evaluated its effects on soil properties. After finishing her environmental engineering degree, Ekaterina worked at a soil disposal facility, assessing contaminated soil for disposal. Currently, Ekaterina is back at RMIT University to develop novel ways of turning waste materials into a valuable products to be used by industries. 

(Conference) Nimesha Rathnayake-Bio – RMIT University is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Engineering under the discipline of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. She is undertaking her PhD on pyrolysis of Victorian biosolids to produce value added products under the supervision of Dr. Sazal Kundu. She completed her Honours degree in Bachelor of Science of Engineering in Chemical and Process Engineering from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. Prior joining RMIT as a PhD candidate she worked as a chemical engineer for more than 2.5 years.

(Conference) Ryan Jansz – Boral Asphalt has been the National Technical Manager, Boral Asphalt, since 2017. He is responsible for steering research and development in bituminous road pavement technology, particularly asphalt and spray seal in all industry sectors. His work involves investigating disruptive technology and providing pavement design and treatment recommendations to complement a total solutions offer through Boral production and operational services. In this role, he represents Boral on various industry committees that guide the implementation of technology in Australia.


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