March 18, 2008

Ex port chief to work with algae biodiesel company

Algae biodiesel developer Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation has appointed former Port Marlborough chief executive officer Des Ashton as a consultant.

Aquaflow is developing pioneering biodiesel technology using wild algae from the Blenheim sewage ponds.

The project received significant overseas interest after then Minister of Energy David Parker drove an unmodified standard Land Rover along the Wellington Motorway in December 2006, powered by Aquaflow bio-diesel.

The international interest has included inquiries from organisations keen to explore the fuel's potential for aviation purposes.

Mr Ashton runs his own Blenheim-based aviation consultancy, Ashton Technologies. He is also a director of Marlborough Lines and Cuddon Engineering.

Aquaflow director Nick Gerritsen said Mr Ashton brought considerable skill and experience to Aquaflow.

Mr Ashton, who has a Bachelor of Engineering degree, also held senior roles during his 24 years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and retired as Wing Commander.

Australian-born Mr Ashton spent his early life living on airfields in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands where his father worked for CAA as a Flight Service officer.

He moved to New Zealand as a child and was educated at Auckland Grammar, Lindisfarne College, the University of Canterbury, RAF Cranwell and the RNZAF. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree.

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