Gus Nathan was appointed founding Director of The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology in 2009. In this capacity he has led the centre in identifying exciting technological developments to reduce the delivered cost of clean energy. He has also led the centre in engaging with partners spanning industry, international research partners and government agencies to harness the support to develop these new technologies.
Professor Nathan specialises in thermal energy engineering in systems supplied by solar, geothermal and the combustion of fossil and bio-fuels. In particular he specialises in novel approaches to integrate these different energy sources and in the research needed to optimise them. Other fields of interest include hydrogen, wind and wave power. He is experienced in the development of novel technologies, playing a leading role in the development of five patented technologies. He was principal leader of the Chief Design Team for the award winning fuel and combustion system for the Sydney Olympic Relay Torch and was co-inventor of the patented combustor that was subsequently also used in the torch and Stadium flame for the Athens Games. He has also jointly led the development of low NOx “Gyrotherm” burner being commercialised by partner FCT Combustion in rotary cement kilns and in the development of a technology to enhance the capture of ultra-fine particles and mercury in partnership with Indigo Technologies. A current focus is the development of novel hybrid power systems that combine solar energy with combustion and/or geothermal energy.
These technology developments are underpinned by the development and application of advanced laser diagnostic methods in complex turbulent reacting flows. In partnership with other leading researchers in the CET, he has worked to establish a leading laser diagnostics facility at Adelaide. This facility specialises in providing new understanding and data for model development and validation in turbulent systems of relevance to energy systems, notably in turbulent flames with soot and in particle-laden turbulent jet flows.
He has published widely in the above fields, jointly authoring some 80 papers in international journals and 130 in peer reviewed conferences. His publications on technology include 7 patents (filed or granted) and 50 consultant’s reports. He is presently on the editorial board of Prog. Energy Combust. Sci. and of Exp. Therm. Fluid Sci., and previously also for Proc. Comb. Inst. He has also worked widely with industries including power generation, cement, lime, steel, glass and aluminum and has consulted to organisations including Western Mining Ltd, Adelaide Brighton Ltd, British Steel plc, LKAB, Flinders Power, Queensland Electricity Commission and BHP. He has lectured both in University Degree courses and to Industrial Combustion Courses and presented seminars and invited lectures nationally and internationally.