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Aquaflow aviation specialist for key projects

Media Release – Appointments notice

March 17, 2008

Aquaflow appoints aviation specialist to lead key projects

Algae biodiesel developer Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation of Nelson has appointed Des Ashton as a consultant to lead key areas of operational development, in particular aviation projects.

Aquaflow made a world-first breakthrough in algae biodiesel development when the Minister of Energy; Hon. David Parker, drove an unmodified standard Land Rover along the Wellington Motorway in December 2006, powered by Aquaflow bio-diesel. Since then the company has had considerable interest from around the world, including organisations keen to explore the fuel’s potential for aviation purposes.

Ashton runs his own Blenheim-based aviation consultancy, Ashton Technologies, and was previously CEO of Port Marlborough which oversaw port operations as well as operating Blenheim Airport. He is also a director of Marlborough Lines and Cuddon Engineering.

A qualified pilot and aeronautical engineer, Ashton’s previous roles include six years as general manager at Safe Air, a Blenheim-based subsidiary of Air New Zealand and vice-president for Airframe Engineering for Ansett Australia and Air New Zealand.

“Des brings considerable skill and experience to Aquaflow. His appointment marks the transition through to a new stage of development,” comments Aquaflow director Nick Gerritsen.

Ashton also held senior roles during his 24 years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, two years on loan to the Singapore Air Force, four years in Washington DC and one year in the UK as well as postings throughout New Zealand and numerous short tours of duty overseas. He retired as Wing Commander.

Ashton has previously been chairman of the Defence Industry Committee of New Zealand and vice-chairman of the Aircraft Industry Association Engineering Division.

Australian-born 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.

Ashton is married with two sons and lives in Blenheim.


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