Professor, Director Centre for Energy Technology, The University of Adelaide
Professor Gus Nathan is the inaugural Energy Professional of the Year from the Australian Institute of Energy, SA, a Fellow of the Combustion Institute, a recipient of a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council and an ATSE KH Sutherland medallist. As the founding Director of The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology and Deputy Director of the Institute of Mineral and Energy Resources, he has led the University’s growing focus on the low-carbon transition for heavy industry. He has led the development of six technology platforms to ongoing commercial, including industrial combustion systems and that for the Sydney Olympic Relay Torch. His more recent technologies are directed to provide net-zero CO2 energy systems for heavy industry for processes including alumina calcination and hydrogen production. He has worked closely with industry throughout his career, with a 13 year industrial lectureship, co-designing and commissioning some 12 combustion systems for heavy industry. He has also published some 250 papers in international journals, 240 in peer reviewed conferences, 50 commissioned reports and 11 patents.
Pathways to low-carbon alumina production
The presentation will address key opportunities to decarbonise the high temperature calcination process within alumina manufacture which, in turn, is one of the most challenging processes to decarbonise in the production of aluminium. Flash calcination reactors presently heat a fine powder in suspension to temperatures of approximately 1000°C by the combustion of fossil fuels, such as natural gas. They are difficult to electrify because the presence of fine particles leads to the high risk of damage to electrical heaters, while the temperatures are higher than what can be achieved with commercially-available solar thermal technology and green hydrogen is presently too expensive to be viable. New options have been identified in a large research program undertaken in partnership with industry. These findings will be presented in the seminar.