This project started in 2002 in response to the Daintree area's ongoing need for robust and sustainable individual power systems based on storage batteries and/or solar power (the entire area is off-grid). We developed a “high-current” desulphator which uses pulsed electric current to break up the lead sulphate crystals which build up in lead-acide batteries and which, over time, cause the degradation of the batteries' performance. The system worked well on “Gel” type lead acid batteries (but not on flooded). As “Gel” or AGM (Adsorbed Glass Mat ) batteries are becoming the norm, this technology appears to at least be able to double their life. We’ve even had students from the UK and China working on this project.
Valerie and Guido, interns from The Netherlands, surveyed the plant species distribution of the littoral forests from Emmagen Beach to Cow bay. This type of survey is important as it calls attention to an area which has been underrepresented in past surveys, and whose true environmental vulnerability compared to the rest of the Daintree Wet Tropics World Heritage area is essentially unknown.
We have been researching the impact of the low toxicity (and low cost) herbicide MSM (met-sulfuron methyl) for control of broad-leafed introduced weeds, for which it is proving to be really excellent. It appears to affect neither grasses nor most native species of flowering plants.
Now, the the beaches from Cow Bay to Emmagen are almost totally free of Singapore daisy (introduced from South America as a lawn substitute). It has taken many years, but we are getting there. Our problem now is to reduce the “upstream” infestations which reside in people’s properties. If you’ve seen the roadsides of Kuranda and North Cairns overflowing with Singapore Daisy, you will appreciate the difference we've produced here. We are also eliminating a host of other broad-leaved weeds.