The new President of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), CSIRO scientist Dr Tom Beer.

The new President of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), CSIRO scientist Dr Tom Beer.

Dr Tom Beer: expert on biofuels for low emission transport

Dr Tom Beer is an expert on environmental risk management, including greenhouse gas and air quality and their application to transport and health.

  • 12 June 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History

Overview

Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Tom Beer leads the biofuels research area of the Energy Transformed National Research Flagship.

The Flagship’s Low Emission Transport research is exploring alternative transport fuels that could significantly contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Australia’s transport sector.

The biofuels team is focused on the development and assessment of second generation biofuels from non-food sources including algae, lignocelluose (woody or fibrous part of plants) and urban waste wood.

As part of this project Dr Beer is conducting an algae feasibility study to assess the greenhouse gas, energy, water and economic requirements for a range of algae-to-biodiesel conversion processes where the algae are sourced from ponds, bio-reactors, waste-water facilities, algal blooms or from seaweed.

Background

Dr Beer founded the Risk Special Interest Group of the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, of which he is a Fellow, specifically to examine issues related to atmospheric emissions and health.

Dr Beer joined CSIRO in 1986.

During 1995 Dr Beer was Science Adviser to the Environment Protection Agency in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, and undertook a risk review of national environmental priorities.

Dr Beer is conducting an algae feasibility study to assess the greenhouse gas, energy, water and economic requirements for a range of algae-to-biodiesel conversion processes.

Subsequently, Dr Beer undertook two of the preparatory studies for the National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality.

He was a lead author for the Atmosphere Theme Report of the Australian 2001 and 2006 State of the Environment reports.

From 2001-06 Dr Beer applied life-cycle assessment and risk assessment methods to alternative transport fuels and co-ordinated a number of influential studies. The study conducted for the Australian Greenhouse Office on fuels for heavy vehicles was used to set determinations under the Diesel and Alternative Fuels Grants Scheme and was followed with a study on fuels for light vehicles.

He has undertaken similar studies for industry – in particular, Shell (Shell Aquadiesel), Caltex (2 per cent Biodiesel) and the Australian LPG Association (LPG).

Dr Beer has led various groups of researchers to undertake studies such as the examination of the appropriateness of the Government’s 350ML biofuels target, the life-cycle of greenhouse gas emissions from maize (a possible feedstock for ethanol), and the health effects of adding ethanol to petrol.

Academic qualifications

Dr Beer has been awarded a:

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario, Canada, 1971
  • Doctor of Science, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2004.

Achievements

Dr Beer was part of the team that won the CSIRO Chairman’s medal in 2000 with his component being the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from hybrid electric vehicles.

He chaired the meeting at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences that, in June 2002, adopted the Budapest Manifesto on Risk Science and Sustainability.

He was a lead author and an expert panel member for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was awarded half of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr Beer is a member of a range of scientific groups and committees, including:

  • Founder of the Risk Special Interest Group of the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand, of which he is a Fellow
  • President of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG)
  • Leader of the Hazards Science Theme of the International Year of Planet Earth
  • Past member of the Academy of Science National Committee for the Environment.

Dr Beer is also the author of:

  • fourteen books
  • over 100 articles in refereed journals
  • over 100 book chapters and papers in conference proceedings
  • over 44 specialised consultancy reports.

Read more about Biofuels.