Mildura Weekly : Friday February 13 2015 Vol 9 No 14
NEWS 09 FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2015 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU By VINNIE RODI NEW Mildura resident – and life- long engineer – Fred Coulter, 79, has an idea that he believes could benefit residents not just in Sunray- sia, but across the country. A successful engineer and for- mer saw doctor, Fred believes there is an opportunity to take the region’s large supply of bio-mass waste (tree prunings, wood chips etc.) and turn them into something useful – fire logs. A more cost-effective – and en- vironmentally-friendly – alternative to traditional firewood, Fred said he was hoping for help from local resi- dents to make the idea a reality. “I’ve been travelling to Mildura for quite some time, and really love it up here,” Fred said. “Having made a few friends and acquaintances – and even buying a unit – I’ve learned that quite a few people in the region have wood heating in their homes. “Everyone I know likes to com- plain about not just the cost of fire- wood, but how hard it is to come by nowadays. “What I’m looking at doing is using machinery that I’ve designed and refined over the past few years to turn the abundance of prunings etc. in this neck of the woods into something useful – 2.5kg fire logs. “As far as an in- vestor is concerned I believe this idea is a ripper!” Fred said his ma- chines have the capa- bility of producing upwards of 38,000 fire logs in a working week–atacostof25 cents per log. All he needs is access to materials, and some interested ‘investors’ to help get the ball rolling. “I’ve already had a brief chat to Pe- ter Crisp (Member for Mildura) about the idea, and it’s my hope that I may be abletogetabitof Government back- ing as well. “I really do be- lieve it’s an idea that could go Australia-wide, maybe even world-wide, with the right support, however it’s not something I can do by myself. “Ideally I would love to sit down with interested people and have them fire questions at me, and show them exactly what the concept en- tails.” Fred has already begun sourcing material for the initiative, discussing the concept with various industry- related businesses across the district. “I’ve spoken to Mildura Tree Services and a few other businesses, and they love the idea,” he said. “Mildura Tree Services alone has about 200 tonnes of prunings and other bio-mass materials just sitting around. “Essentially this idea would take that waste and turn it into something usable and viable.” Fred’s purpose-built machines work by taking dried prunings and other bio-mass material and put- ting it through a hammer-mill. Once compact, those materials are then pressed into perfect 2.5kg logs or bricks, which can then be used in home wood heaters. Fred, who is originally from England, said the idea was sparked more than 20 years ago. “Myself and two brothers ar- rived in Australia in 1956 during the Melbourne Olympics, and I never went back,” he said. “I landed in Fremantle, before eventually making my way to Ad- elaide where I established an engi- neering business and the Norwood Saw and Knife Works – which is still going today under a different owner.” As a qualified ‘saw doctor,’ Fred said he had come to the realisation early in his career that firewood was going to become a valued com- modity. “As a ‘saw doctor’ I was respon- sible for maintaining machinery found in the timber mills, while also building and designing all sorts of machines across a number of trades,” he said. • Continued Page 10 Fred unveils grand plan for our bio-mass waste • SUSTAINABLE SOLUTION: Life-long engineer Fred Coulter has designed machinery that can transform dried prunings and other ‘bio- mass’ material into affordable and environmentally-friendly fire logs. It’s an idea Fred is looking to get off the ground in Mildura, and he’s on the lookout for local residents to help make the concept a reality.
Friday February 6 2015 Vol 9 No 13
Friday February 20 2015 Vol 9 no 15