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Algae expert wins international award

Lily and Simon Tannock have recently moved to the Bundaberg Region, bringing with them successful business AlgaEnviro.

International award-winning biotechnologist and environmental engineer Simon Tannock has moved his successful AlgaEnviro business to the Bundaberg Region.

Lifestyle and affordability were the key drawcards for Dr Tannock and his family.

He’s the director and co-founder of AlgaEnviro, a manufacturing company that specialises in the production of a micronutrient solution, Diatomix, which rids waterways of problem algae and weeds.

“Basically, if the water has algae or water weeds in it, that’s what our product is used to treat,” Dr Tannock said.

“It contains all the micronutrients that a particular type of algae called diatoms need to grow.”

Dr Tannock said it encouraged the growth of the naturally occurring diatom algae.

“The increased numbers of the diatoms starve out the problem algae and water weeds like Azolla, Salvinia as well as string algae and blue-green algae, that are the ones that can become toxic and cause fish kills and closure of recreational waterways.

“Diatoms make up a large proportion of the food chain, and with Diatomix they can increase the natural biodiversity in a waterbody.

“Lots of different animals, from microscopic animals like zooplankton through to snails, insect larvae and fish, can all benefit from a healthier food web.

“So the environment gets to benefit from its use, with more birds, more fish, more eels, more turtles.”

The micronutrient mixture is used across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Malaysia and can improve water quality in applications like wastewater treatment, aquaculture and stormwater.

On 4 December, AlgaEnviro took out one of the Best Microalgae Awards at the 2020 European Algae Biomass Association conference.

“We received first prize for the corporate social responsibility initiatives,” he said.

“Our product can be applied in any waterbody and because it is cost-effective it is suitable for use in developing countries.

“It’s a ‘drop in’ solution that is sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“It’s enhancing the natural environment and making it healthy again, rather than just pouring in more toxins and herbicides in an attempt to get rid of the problem.”

Dr Tannock said he was thrilled with this recognition which he hoped would open the door to more international markets.

“Given the quality of the other awards and the other people competing, it is exciting to be a small Bundaberg company and to receive this recognition.

“I know we’re very unique in what we do … but it didn’t really sink in that we would manage to achieve this.”

He said water had always been a passion, so it was natural that his career had taken the path that it did.

“Since a kid I’ve been interested in water.

“Mum and dad would have to drag me from the river or the beach into the car.

“I loved anything aquatic from puddles through to the sea, I just loved looking at what’s in there.”

Biotechnologist and environmental engineer Simon Tannock recently took out an international award for AlgaEnviro product Diatomix.

Now as a Moore Park Beach resident, Dr Tannock has no shortage of access to beautiful waterways and the region’s pristine coastline.

“We love it, the friendly local community, the walks along the beach, and now the turtles are coming, we are enchanted by it all.

“We still pinch ourselves that we’ve found such a great place to live.”

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