Monthly Archives: July 2013

Native algae biofuel could make Australia oil rich

Date: July 24, 2013


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Australia could become a major oil exporter like the Middle East if it starts farming native algae, researchers say.

University of Queensland experts say Australian algae species hold great promise in the race for cheap, efficient biofuels that can compete with fossil fuels.

UQ’s Dr Evan Stephens says microscopic algae from Australia’s fresh and saltwater environments have proven to be hardy and fast-growing.

The most promising are now being trialled at a pilot processing plant in Brisbane.

"If we devoted just 1 per cent of our land mass to algae farming, we could theoretically produce five times more oil than we currently consume," he said.

"We could potentially become an oil exporter, rather than an importer. We could be like the Middle East."

He said previous research had focused on oil-rich algae, but those species had their shortcomings.

"Usually these are not fast-growing and they are tastier to predators – like microscopic scoops of ice-cream," Dr Stephens said.

He said new technologies meant researchers could now look at a broader range of algae, including Australian species that grow well, and are resistant to predators and temperature changes.

Dr Stephens said algae fuels were some way off being commercially viable, but identifying the best species was a critical step.

"We know we can produce algae oil that is even higher quality than standard petroleum sources," he said.

The challenge now is to develop efficient production processes.

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Have your say …. G21 Geelong Region Alliance releases G21 Regional Growth Plan/ draft Implementation Plan for comment …..

Have your say …. G21 Geelong Region Alliance releases G21 Regional Growth Plan/ draft Implementation Plan for comment …..
The G21 Regional Growth Plan was adopted by the Victorian Government last April as the framework for sustainably managing likely regional population growth of up to 500,000 by 2050.
G21 CEO Elaine Carbines said developing a G21 Regional Growth Plan / Implementation Plan was the logical next piece of work.
“We are now at the stage we need the wider community’s input. I’d encourage people to take an interest in the future of their region and planning for its inevitable growth,” Ms Carbines said.
“There will be extensive opportunity to obtain detail and provide feedback between now and 9 August. We’ll be running six ‘Open House’ drop-in information sessions across the region, conducting on-line surveys and will have background materials available on the Growth Plan website,”
“This draft Implementation Plan includes an infrastructure plan, detailed data on the current status of residential and industrial land supply, analysis of opportunities for longer-term urban growth and actions and strategies to ensure people have adequate housing choice in the future.
“Essentially we are now taking the planning up to the next level of detail to ensure the elements of the Growth Plan are put in place effectively,”
“The aim is to ensure the right regional infrastructure is in place at the right time.”
“The infrastructure planning elements of the Implementation Plan are the first of their kind in Victoria. They will allow G21 region councils, and other infrastructure providers, to attract investment and deliver infrastructure that’s coordinated and efficient.
“Similarly, the property sector and local councils will benefit from the data and action plans around industrial and residential property and the elements of the Implementation Plan were setting new standards in regional planning for Victoria. ”
Open House’ drop-in information sessions:
Bannockburn: Bannockburn Cultural Centre and Library, 27 High Street, Monday 22 July – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Queenscliff: Borough of Queenscliffe Town Hall, 50 Learmonth Street, Thursday 25 July – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Torquay: Torquay Improvement Association Hall, 12 Price Street, Saturday 27 July – 10.00am to 1.00pm
Colac: Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre, 2-6 Rae Street, Wednesday 31 July – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Geelong: Geelong West Town Hall, 153 Pakington Street, Thursday 1 August – 4.00pm to 7.00pm
Lara: Lara RSL, 2 Rennie Street, Saturday 3 August – 10.00am to 1.00pm.
Background Information
The draft G21 Regional Growth Plan Implementation Plan comprises:

  • a regional level Infrastructure Plan, identifying projects important to supporting the region’s growth and provision of jobs
  • a strategic housing incentives action plan and residential and industrial land supply analysis
  • analysis of the two ‘Further Investigation Areas’ identified in the Growth Plan for medium to longer-term growth.

and is supported by a Background Report and a number of draft residential and industrial land supply reports.
All documents can be downloaded from the project web site:

Beyond Zero Emissions are seeking an experienced and passionate CEO


Beyond Zero Emissions Chief Executive Officer Wanted

The company

Beyond Zero Emissions is a not-for-profit research and communication organisation developing solutions for the implementation of climate change mitigation programmes. Their objective is to transform Australia from a fossil fuel based economy to a renewable powered clean tech economy. Sharing this research with tens of thousands of Australians via a multitude of external channels, the organisation is engaging, educating and inspiring stakeholders with real and positive solutions to climate change.
As one of the fastest growing NGOs in Australia, BZE are seeking an experienced and passionate CEO who can lead and consolidate the organisation through the next period of change and growth.
The role
Reporting to the Board of Management, your role as CEO will be to provide the collaborative leadership needed to ensure the organisation can deliver on its ambitious goals. You will work to foster an environment of courage, collaboration and accountability alongside staff and volunteers alike.
The key responsibilities for the role are:

  • Staff management and leadership
  • Operational management
  • Fundraising
  • External stakeholder engagement
  • Media communications

The requirements
As someone with proven leadership, coaching and management experience you will be thoroughly committed to, and passionate about, action on climate change and the work that the organisation undertakes. As a strong communicator you will be the focal point externally therefore it is essential that you have advanced influencing skills.
Further key requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Excellence in organisational and project management with the ability to coach staff, manage, and develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives.
  • P/L management, ensuring the fiscal viability and sustainability of the organisation.
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Experience developing productive, collaborative partnerships with external agencies and influential individuals.

The rewards
You will be given the platform to be a highly visible exponent of climate change mitigation, engaging with influential private and public stakeholders across Australia and potentially further afield. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to help shape the future of the Australian energy industry and build on the progress that this organisation has achieved to date.
For a confidential discussion contact Ben Cartland on 0413 555 632 or Richard Evans on 0431 414 883 or send your resume to

UPDATE – Beyond Zero Emissions welcomes a new CEO

Posted on 26 Aug 2013
It is our pleasure to announce that after a long and exhaustive search we are finally able to announce the appointment of our new Chief Executive Officer – Dr Stephen Bygrave.
Stephen will be commencing as CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions on Monday the 9th of September 2013.
Stephen has worked on climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport for the past 20 years, primarily in policy and research positions at a local, national and international level.
Dr Stephen Bygrave

To Bee or Not to Bee – a must read.

Saturday July 13 at 1 pm on CBC-TV

Related Video



Watch this film online.
45:05 min
Bees are all around us. And while some might consider them no more than a nuisance, the role that bees play in nature simply cannot be overstated – they pollinate many of the food crops that we depend on. A world without bees would be unrecognizable since they also pollinate many of the plants and trees in our gardens, forests and meadows.
When the news broke three and a half years ago that honeybee populations around the globe were declining at an alarming rate, it was no surprise that scientists took notice. What was happening to the bees, and could they be saved?
These are but two of the questions To Bee or Not To Bee explores, taking us headlong into a world of nature, science and big business.
Our story begins in 2006, when Pennsylvania beekeeper David Hackenburg went public when over half of his honeybee hives died from a mysterious disease. That disease soon had a name – Colony Collapse Disorder, and it rapidly led to record colony losses for beekeepers across the United States. At the same time, in other parts of the world, domesticated honeybees and wild bee populations were sickening and dying as well. A number of factors seemed to be triggering those die-offs. The search for a single cause and its cure has become more and more desperate over time.
As the problem becomes more severe, scientists and beekeepers in Europe and North America work tirelessly to find the cause of these deadly declines: is it genetic, a virus or pollution, or some combination of them? Today beekeepers are hanging on by a thread, food supplies are threatened, and the biodiversity of the planet itself has been endangered.

Could bees be an early warning sign of a larger problem with our ecology? Are they the canary in the coal mine for the health of Planet Earth?
Like many scientific mysteries, the answers are rarely found in one place. To Bee or Not To Bee takes viewers to France, Germany, Canada and the U.S.A., and into laboratories, bee yards, landfills, almond orchards and breeding grounds, all in search of clues.
The picture that emerges is at once hopeful and disturbing. The stresses bees face today are numerous – from the use of chemical pesticides, to viruses, to the loss of natural bee habitats. Although, these enterprising insects are resilient and adaptable, will they be able to change fast enough? Will science find solutions to the problems they face?
To Bee or Not to Bee is directed by Mark Johnston and produced by Natalie Dubois and Christine Le Goff, for Galafilm Productions.