Our Vision

We (BioEnergy Plantations Australia) are a company dedicated to the creation of an economically and environmentally viable alternative to fossil fuels by the use of Pongamia Pinnata (AKA Milletia Pinnata).  We believe this vision can only be achieved by solid research and development in the lead up to commercialisation to enable a strong industry to develop.  We have now reached the stage where an economically and environmentally sound model has been achieved, and we are now seeking like minded people to move forward with us.


What Do We Do?

  • Selection and propagation of  elite varieties of Pongamia (Millettia) pinnata through seed, grafting and tissue culture from mature wood. Also ongoing research into propagation techniques.
  • Funding of genetic  research undertaken by Professor Peter Gresshoff with the University of Queensland’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research).
  • Plantation design, layout, land preparation , and management
  • Research at research farm near Elimbah – silviculture, propagation, equipment
  • Establishing a commercial Farm near Mackay

How Can We Help You?

consultancy for planning and development of all facets of the Pongamia business through to end use of products.

  • Site assessment and feasibility
  • Plantation design
  • Land preparation, planting, establishment ,
  • Economic modelling and strategies
  • Management strategies
  • Marketing, processing
  • Sale of trees whether seed grown or clonal
  • Off-take agreements


The ultimate goal is to significantly impact the use of liquid fossil fuels in Australia.

above: 300 hectare trial of Pongamia (Millettia) Pinnata in Western Queensland.





Why Do Other Sites Show So Much Higher Yields For Millettia than Pongamia?

Millettia and Pongamia are just different names for the same tree.  Others include Honge, Karanji, Kalpa and Indian Beech to name but a few (see the wiki here for more details).

When quoting yields the size is important – check if the tree quoted is of a practical size for a plantation, and if the quoted weight for a young tree could be supported by that size of tree.  For a visual indication, an average mature plantation tree (approx 18 years old tree pictured right), which appears very heavily laden with seeds, would be very unlikely to support more than 150kg

Why Pongamia (Millettia)?

  •  Native to Australia and is not an invasive weed threat
  •  Climatically suited to Northern Australia (prefers environment of 25-40 degrees)
  •  Legume (fixes nitrogen)
  •  Drought tolerant
  •  Produces Food & Fuel at the same time  –     the crushing byproduct ( meal) if treated can be used as a protein supplement for cattle
  • Sequesters Carbon (tree growth & Fuel substitution)
  • Can be mechanically harvested*
  • Direct use of oil in modified engine
  • Can be converted into high quality BioDiesel or 2nd Generation biofuels
  • Cost effective broad acre solution
  • 200x200km planted out with Pongamia (Millettia) could replace all of Australia’s liquid fuel needs
  • Generally4-5 years until first yield, 8 years until
  •  suitable for interrow cropping during first 3 years of growth
  • Livestock grazing from about year 3-5 depending on growth rate and livestock chosen



In 2007, Bioenergy Research (BER) was formed by George Muirhead and Gary Seaton to further research and commercialise Pongamia (Milletia) Pinnata as a bioenergy crop.  This research had been initiated by Pacific Renewable Energy (PRE), including a pilot program with the University of Queensland’s ARC Centre of Excellence in Legume Research, headed by Professor Peter Gresshoff, to undertake research into key areas essential to optimize the productive potential of the species.  This was necessary due to the wide genetic diversity evidenced in the species. They considered that the selection and propagation of the right genetics is the key to the establishment of a long term viable industry.  BER continued this research with the university.


To reflect the intended change in direction from primarily a research company, to a commercial pongamia plantation company, the name has been changed to BioEnergy Plantations Australia (BPA).


Who Are We?


George Muirhead
Former founder, developer and Chairman / C.E.O of the Australian Biodiesel Group, which became Australia’s largest publicly listed biodiesel company in 2005. Over 40 years of experience in business, having developed, owned and managed multi-million dollar businesses involving a diverse range of enterprises.  These enterprises include: broad acre agriculture, grazing, feedlotting, feedmilling, transport, fuel industry, earthmoving, property development, consultancy and project funding.
George has had a long term interest in renewable energy enterprises which led to his prime role as a founder of Australian Biodiesel Group Limited, until its listing in December 2005.  At this point he moved on to a consultancy role and has, since leaving, pursued his interest in energy cropping.  He has seen this as key to the establishment of a sustainable long term renewable fuels industry.  This is a key factor in addressing global warming concerns and having the potential to assist in development at grassroots level of sustainable incomes to alleviate poverty in underdeveloped nations.  George is happily married to Stephanie for 40 years.  They have two married children.
Gary Seaton
Director / Business Development. 
Born and Educated in Sydney, completing his formal education at the University of NSW, Gary embarked upon a career in Agribusiness in 1978. He joined the Gardner Smith Group as a trainee in 1980. Gary opened up Gardner Smith’s Singapore office as the first stepping stone to Gardner Smith’s expansion to becoming a global player in the world market.
In 1984 Gary joined a Singapore Group and worked with them throughout South East Asia before rejoining Gardner Smith in 1988 to head up their International operations.
Gary was responsible for the companies’ expansion into Global operations with the establishment of offices in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China Korea, South Africa, United Kingdom, Tanzania and Turkey. Gary left Gardner Smith in 1998 to form his own Group of companies that continued their investments and involvements in Asia.
Gary currently heads the Oceanic Group which has operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka. Africa India and Australia predominately in the Agricultural Sector.
Gary presides over a number of social and environmental organizations including Quest 2025 which is an environmental Education Trust. He is also a keen sports man and has represented the state of NSW in both Hockey and Rugby. Gary’s philosophies in social justice have made him a Trustee for several schools both in Australia and overseas.
Stephanie Muirhead
BSc (Lon)Hons.
Administration / Research and Development Manager
Stephanie has a broad based administrative management background and has worked at senior level in this capacity with several resource based industries and as a business partner with George, her husband of 40 years. She is one of the original founders and management team for the development of Australian Biodiesel Group, leaving in December 2005, after IPO, to ursue a consultancy role and, with George, their shared dream of establishing a stable feedstock base for the biodiesel industry.  In particular, their focus has been in the field of tree plantations, which they have researched independently since 2003.

What Do We Do?
We are a company dedicated to the creation of an economically and environmentally viable alternative to fossil fuels by the use of Pongamia Pinnata (AKA Milletia PInnata).

What Is Pongamia?
Pongamia is a legume tree which is native to Australia and most of the tropical world. We are discovering the many extremes it can handle, including frost, and salty ground, amongst other things.

More importantly pongamia can produce up to 10,000L of oil per hectare, which can be run straight in a slightly modified diesel engine, or converted to biodiesel.

How Can You Grow Pongamia?
Within Australia, we can supply you with seedlings or larger trees, and teach you how to grow them and become a part of this revolutionary industry.

For more information follow the links in the menus.