2023 Speaker Profiles

Jim Lane - Editor & Publisher, Biofuels Digest (USA)

Jim Lane is the founder of The Daily Digest, the world’s most widely-read bioeconomy daily, with 6 million online readers and followers. He also founded The Circular e-zine, the Bioeconomy Connect networking platform, the Robin digital streaming platform, and co-founded the ABLC conference series, the world’s most widely-attended bioeconomy leadership events.

Outside of the bioeconomy, he founded the REenergize community and newsletter covering advances in battery tech, solar, wind, hydrogen and electric vehicles, and is an active technology angel investor. He received Special Achievement Awards from the Biotechnology Industry Organisation and the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative for his services to the bioeconomy and was recently selected to introduce President Biden’s Bold Goals for the Bieoconomy.

He has authored 11 books and more than 1,500 published columns on the bioeconomy, agriculture, fashion, sports, technology and media, and documentaries on national security, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, brain-machine interfaces and advanced materials. He matriculated from Sydney Grammar and studied at UNSW before taking a BA in English from the University of Washington.

Dr Annette Cowie - Senior Principal Research Scientist - Climate, NSW Dept of Primary Industries

Annette Cowie is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, and has a background in agricultural science, with emphasis on sustainable resource management.
Annette’s research sits on the science-policy interface, supporting holistic responses to climate change, and sustainable land management. Her research interests include sustainability assessment, greenhouse gas accounting for the land sector, soil carbon management and biochar science.
Annette was a lead author in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, in the Cross-sectoral Perspectives chapter of the WGIII volume.

Birgit Tegethoff - Senior Advisor Clean Energy, Business Finland

Birgit has successfully made an impact in the clean energy sector within roles that bring together government, trade, and industry stakeholders, to drive strategic and commercial outcomes. She is an experienced business leader supporting sustainable growth of companies and is enthusiastic about meaningful ecosystem engagement, enabling technologies and circular economy principles. Prior to joining Business Finland in 2022, Birgit led the industry engagement of the German-Australian Energy Partnership and the Industry 4.0 Prime Minister Task Force at the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and is the Co-Founder of the German-Australian Hydrogen Alliance. Based in Sydney since 2009 she holds a degree in International Management.

Maja Arsic - CERC Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO

Maja Arsic is a CERC Winanga-y Postdoctoral Fellow at CSIRO working on developing a circular bioeconomy for agriculture and food systems. She has a PhD in plant nutrition, and a background in environmental chemistry and national agricultural policy. Maja’s current work focusses on rethinking sustainable use of organic waste streams and the extraction of valuable resources, particularly phosphorus, from sources such as biosolids and biochar

Robert Bridgart - Environmental Software Engineer, CSIRO

Mr Robert Bridgart has been an Environmental Software Engineer with the CSIRO for almost 20 years. His experience is in developing modelling, simulation and forecasting tools; primarily, but not exclusively, in the surface water domain. He also has experience with high performance computing, cloud platforms and remote sensing.

Caitlin Byrt - Associate Professor, Australian National University

Caitlin Byrt is an Associate Professor with the ANU working on investigating how plants achieve energy efficient precision membrane separation. Caitlin serves as Deputy Director (Research) of the Australian Research Council Future Crops Centre and as co-Director of Membrane Transporter Engineers Pty Ltd. The knowledge that Caitlin and team gain from studying plant molecular membrane separation is being applied to improving crop performance and designing systems for separating valuable resources from industrial wastewater.  

Dr David Bush – Director, Australian Tree Seed Centre, CSIRO

David Bush is the Director of the CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre. He has worked on testing and genetically improving Australian tree and shrub species for new uses including biomass, carbon sequestration and sustainable wood products in Australia and abroad for over 20 years. Species conservation and development of germplasm resources to underpin new industries are additional research interests.

Cr Declan Clausen - Deputy Lord Mayor, City of Newcastle

Councillor Declan Clausen was first elected to the City of Newcastle in February 2015, and has served as the City’s Deputy Lord Mayor since September 2017.

Declan is an energetic and committed local who is passionate about sustainability, equality and renewing pride in Newcastle

In addition to serving as Deputy Lord Mayor, Declan is the Chair of the City’s Strategy and Innovation Advisory Committee; a Member of the Asset, Youth, and Liveable Cities Advisory Committees; and a Director of the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation.

Outside of his role on Council, Declan is the Executive Officer at Hunter Water Corporation, and a Non-Executive Director of Active Super, a leading environmental social and governance [ESG] focused industry super fund with more than $14 Billion in funds under management.

Cr Kay Fraser – Mayor, Lake Macquarie City Council

Cr Fraser has proudly served as Mayor of Lake Macquarie since 2016 and has represented the city’s East Ward as a Councillor since 2004.

An experienced director and manager of both private and public sector organisations, Cr Fraser has overseen the transformation of Lake Macquarie into a regional powerhouse in NSW.

Cr Fraser is committed to championing the community she represents, working with people across a range of professional, cultural, and social backgrounds to deliver the best outcomes possible.

Born in Wellington in Central Western NSW, Cr Fraser has lived in Lake Macquarie for more than 40 years. She has a husband, Carey, twin boys Steven and Peter, and a pet Maltese terrier/poodle Archie.

In her spare time, she enjoys travel, reading and exercise, as well as connecting with local community groups.

Mark Glover - Founder, Ecowaste & Renewed Carbon Holdings

Mark is a principled thought leader and business developer in the circular economy, sustainable resource use and application, and emerging bioeconomy sectors.

Mark’s standard methodology is to profoundly research a topic or issue of significant currency or importance; for a client, or just private speculation, and then look to craft the systematic systems and/or infrastructure response, and then marshal the stakeholders, resources and funding to design and deliver the identified outcomes.

Renewed Carbon is currently delivering a multimillion project in NSW to create a vanguard project to manufacture biogenic carbon products for industry, manufacturers and agriculture, whilst simultaneously providing broad acre landscape restoration services on a regional basis.

Dr Joe Herbertson - Director, Skye Point Innovation

Dr Joe Herbertson is currently an international Assurance Panel member for Responsible Steel. He was formally General Manger Research, BHP Steel and co-founder the Steel Stewardship Forum. He is a Director of The Crucible Group, taking its Continuous Biomass Converter technology from concept to the point of commercialisation. Joe recently co-founded Yarna Yur-ra, a social enterprise committed to safe climate, equity, diversity, and First Nations engagement. He continues to act as a sustainability consultant with international companies.

Michael Hughson – Manager, Aurecon

Michael is an economist within Aurecon’s Infrastructure Advisory team, with a focus on the energy transition and decarbonisation strategies. He has a background in process engineering and works closely with Aurecon’s biofuel engineering experts to deliver integrated commercial & technical analysis.   He has been involved in a range of biofuel studies, including recent engagements related to assessing the feasibility of producing or adopting renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel at sites across Australia. 

Dr Mark Jackson - Director, Jackson Environment and Planning

Mark is an infrastructure specialist and has 29 years’ experience in the field. He has supported the environmental planning, approvals and licensing of some of the largest waste and recycling infrastructure projects in NSW. Mark is the founder of a specialist infrastructure planning firm in North Sydney, Jackson Environment and Planning. He also has 12 years’ experience in the NSW Environment Protection Authority, leading some of the largest recycling industry development, regulatory support and infrastructure investment programs in the country’s history.

Dr Melita Jazbec - Research Principal, Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS

Dr Melita Jazbec is a Research Principal at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS. She leads the Resource Recovery research stream. Melita specialises in Resource, Energy and Water Futures with strong emphasis on the transition to circular economy and waste management. Melita has been developing waste strategies and action plans for Australian councils and for private companies. Melita models, analyses and consults on waste management practice, with particular emphasis on organic and plastic waste. 

Melita’s work on circular economy policy included development of circular economy best practice and application, review of circular economy procurement and identifying transition pathways to circular economy for water industry. She has developed a white paper for WSAA on Transitioning the water industry with the circular economy, and analysed opportunities for circular economy precincts through the nexus of water, waste and energy. Melita is also a member of Australia Circular Infrastructure Taskforce, MECLA Evaluation Working Group and was on the NABRES taskforce in the development of the star rating for Waste. 

Mark Johnson – Cha Cha Char

Mark has 30 years’ experience strategically managing waste in NSW. His career has included developing regional waste plan for the Hunter Region and managing one of the largest landfills in NSW, the Summerhill Waste Management Centre. Mark has developed an interest in making solid renewable carbon, biochar using the Kon Tiki flame capped kiln. Sourcing unwanted wood locally to produce high quality biochar for local distribution.

Angus Johnston - Founder, BioCarbon Soil

For the last 22 years, Angus has specialised in organic waste recovery for composting and energy. His passion is diverting waste from landfill and promoting a circular economy. In additional to his degrees in environmental engineering and environmental management, Angus undertook the intensive 2018 Study Tour and Training Course in Biowaste Recycling to further develop his skills and knowledge in this field. 

Angus’s experience ranges broadly from private sector consulting, government policy and non-profits.  Previously, Angus was a Principal Consultant with pitt&sherry where he led a team of six staff delivering waste and resource recovery solutions in NSW and Victoria. He also spent two years helping the NSW EPA establish resource recovery infrastructure grant programs and evaluate proposals.

Angus spent six years as National Projects Manager for the Australian Organics Recycling Association and has been an active member and volunteer since 2014.  While working for Compost Australia he represented the industry on the review and update of the Australian Standard for Composts, Soil Conditioners and Mulches (AS4454-2012).He now serves on their NSW committee.

Throughout his career, Angus has provided sound environmental management advice to the public and private sector.  His background in science, technology and communication translates well both to decision makers and laypersons.

In addition to leading Biocarbon Soil, Angus works with Jackson Environment and Planning where he focusses on obtaining planning approvals and licensing organic recycling facilities.

Amanda Kane - Organics Manager, Circular Economy Programs, NSW Environment Protection Authority

Amanda Kane manages the NSW Environmental Protection Authority’s organics programs. Amanda and her team are currently working on the design and delivery of new programs under the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy (WaSM). Supported with $69 million to 2027, the new programs will deliver on the NSW Government’s commitment to net zero emissions of organics waste landfilled from 2030 and requirements for all NSW households and high food-wasting businesses to be source separating food waste by 2030 and 2025 respectively.

Dr. Mengyu Li - Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Integrated Sustainability Analysis, The University of Sydney

Dr. Mengyu Li works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Integrated Sustainability Analysis, the University of Sydney. She undertakes multidisciplinary research to develop concepts and methods relevant to nationally and globally significant applications in the areas of climate change and sustainability. Her current research includes 1) low-carbon power grids, electric vehicles and energy transition pathways; 2) quantitative assessments of climate-, pandemic- and geopolitics-related disasters; and 3) integrated sustainability assessment at local, national and global scales. 

Jens Møller - Senior Consultant, Ramboll

Specialist in Anaerobic Digestion and Thermal treatment

Henry Poole - Corporate Finance & Business Development – Sustainable Energy, Verdant Earth Technologies

Henry is leading Business Development at Verdant Earth Technologies, owners of the 151MW Redbank Power Station in the Hunter Valley, targeting the roll out of up to 2,000MW of biomass based generation throughout Australia. Henry has a background in Strategy and Transactions at EY with a strong track record in capital markets transactions and project management. He has worked on the development of greenfield and brownfield energy projects and has a strong commercial skill set.

Lauren Randall – Vice-Chair, Australian & New Zealand Biosolids Partnership Advisory Committee

The Australian & New Zealand Biosolids Partnership (ANZBP) is a member-based collaboration of water utilities, consultants, academics and government bodies committed to the sustainable management of biosolids.

Lauren was elected to the ANZBP Advisory Committee in 2020, and was elected as Vice-Chair of the Committee in June 2023. To ensure sustainable and resilient biosolids management, Lauren recognises the need for an innovative, risk-based and adaptive approach, to address challenges and embrace opportunities for improved environmental, social and economic outcomes for communities.

With nearly two decades of experience in the water industry, Lauren has managed a diverse range of engineering and environmental studies, led stakeholder engagement programs and developed decision-making frameworks to incorporate a variety of financial, technical, environmental and social factors.

Marc Revault - Project Manager, Ramboll

Marc has 15 years of experience. Engineering, project management and development across water, energy and waste sectors with global companies, both nationally and internationally. He is a specialist in waste to energy and has a thorough understanding of waste markets in Australia including regulations, emerging trends and technology.

Brad Searle – Environment, Approvals and Regulatory Compliance Manager, BINGO Industries

Brad is a senior executive at BINGO Industries with over 20 years’ experience in environmental approvals and waste management. He currently works within BINGOs Growth Team where he is responsible for driving the delivery of value creation initiatives such as offtakes to support diversion of waste from landfill, development approvals and biogas to green energy as well as key regulatory compliance initiatives. Brad is passionate about leading multi-disciplinary teams to deliver projects and sustainability outcomes which support BINGOs vision for a waste free Australia. Prior to joining BINGO, he worked in the professional services sector where he led the growth of a market leading environment and waste advisory services business.

Dr Lukas Van Zwieten - Senior Principal Research Scientist, Soil & Water R&D NSW Department of Primary Industries

After finishing a PhD at the University of Sydney in 1995, Lukas joined NSW Department of Primary Industries where he is now a Senior Principal Research Scientist. He is also a Program Leader in the Soil CRC and Adjunct Professor at Griffith University and Southern Cross University. His research focus includes C and N cycling, and how this relates to soil carbon storage (for climate mitigation/ adaptation, productivity and resilience), unravelling soil rhizosphere and microbial processes. He was a Highly Cited Researcher in 2018-2020 with over 180 published papers,  including works in Nature Climate Change and Nature Communications.

Prof Kenneth Williams - Research Director, Centre for Bulk Solids and Particulate Technologies, University of Newcastle

Prof Williams is motivated in the translation of research and innovation to industry through implementation of advanced systems technology and training of associated personnel. Prof Williams has been driving, facilitating and encouraging these endeavours with his team for over the past decade. In this time, he has built a research team and research area from small beginnings from the dynamics of aerated flows within pneumatic conveying systems and translated and broadened his research into dynamic moisture migration retention, handleability of wet and sticky material and recently improving materials handling challenges associated with biomass feedstock. Professor Williams has grown the number of Higher Research Degree students that study in the materials handling group from 2 students in 2004 to an average of 15 students over the past 5 years, 7 of which he is supervisor. As part of this leadership of the student Cohort, he facilitate fortnightly students meetings, inter-student collaborations, industry site visits and annual student presentations.

Dr Fabiano Ximenes - Senior Research Scientist, NSW DPI

Dr. Fabiano Ximenes is a Senior Research Scientist at the DPI Forest Science Unit, with a research focus on wood products, biomass, bioenergy and carbon.

Fabiano was a Lead Author for the IPCC 2014 Good Practice Guidance on Harvested Wood Products, and he has contributed to many industry research projects, including leading the NSW component of the Australian Biomass for Bioeenrgy project and the Biomass for Bioenergy project. Fabiano is also a lead of the Bioproducts theme under the newly established NSW Decarbonisation Hub.