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MEDIA RELEASE - Portland headlines biochar study tour

Monday 30 September 2019

The Glenelg Shire’s prominent role in the emerging biochar industry will be showcased at the region’s first biochar conference next month.

The five-day Australian New Zealand Biochar Conference, which is showing innovative new applications for the product, made from forestry and farming residues, is featuring a Portland study tour on Monday 21 October.

More than 100 attendees are expected to attend the event which will feature farm visits seeing biochar used in livestock feed for animal health, its role in wheat and vegetable crops to increase yield and reduce fertiliser needs, use as a partial replacement in bitumen road construction and role in water filtration systems, alongside international and national guest speakers.

The study tour also includes one day in South Australia visiting the working bioenergy and biochar plant at Tantanoola operated by Hola-Fresh and Van Schaik’s organic recycling plant at Wandilo.

Event organiser Peter Burgess, managing director Rainbow Beeeater, said Glenelg Shire’s vision to create a “thriving bio-economy” had been a catalyst in driving the inaugural event.

Mr Burgess has assisted council to develop a feasibility study for a biomass unit to power council’s civic precinct, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs.

“Biochar is starting to be used on a global scale and demand is going to grow. It is clear that the Green Triangle region, particularly the Glenelg Shire, can have a prominent role in providing for this emerging market,” Mr Burgess said.

“There is great opportunity to use biomass residue to creating biochar and in return power clean, green energy solutions for the region, using the large forestry waste assets which are in abundant supply.

“We are extremely excited to be able to showcase some of the great local examples of innovative biochar use as part of this inaugural local conference, which will feature world learning biochar specialists from China, which is leading the world on the use of biochar in farming.

“There will also be speakers from Europe who are leading biochar in animal feed, from the US which is leading on biochar for soil water retention and filtration and from Australia where many examples of biochar in commercial use will be discussed.”

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank said council was proud to sponsor the inaugural Green Triangle event.

“Bio-energy and biochar are extremely popular technologies which have everyone wanting to learn more,” Cr Rank said.

“We are proud to say that some of the best examples of these technologies are on our door step. For example, Cashmore farmer John Keilor is using biochar to help bolster the health and productivity of his sheep flock, and the results have been outstanding.

“Even our council are using biochar to assist with water filtration at a storm water drain and it is being used as a road base component near Cape Bridgewater.

“Biochar has the power to create new local circular economies, reducing waste and reducing global warming by locking up carbon output. This is why council is investigating the construction of its own biomass unit, creating biochar, to improve its environmental footprint and reduce energy costs. We can’t wait to see what other opportunities arise locally from this important study tour.”

To learn more about the conference, or to register, visit

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