Gus Nathan
(University of Adelaide)

Director, Centre for Energy Technology
Gus Nathan

Gus Nathan
(University of Adelaide)

Director, Centre for Energy Technology

Biography

Gus is a mechanical engineer who specialises in thermal energy engineering technology supplied by solar thermal, geothermal, or the combustion of fossil or bio-fuels, and has also worked with hydrogen, wind, and wave power. As founding director of the Centre for Energy Technology at the University of Adelaide, he has led the development of three technology platforms to ongoing commercial use, including the ceremonial flame technology that was first implemented in the relay torch for the Sydney Olympic Games.

He presently leads the Solar Fuels program in the ARENA-funded Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute and another ARENA-funded program that is targeting cost-effective methods with which to implement up to 50 percent solar thermal energy into the Bayer alumina process. He has published some 200 papers to international journals and 250 to peer-reviewed conferences. He also holds 10 patents. His awards include an ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher, the inaugural AIE-SA Energy Professional of the Year, and an ATSE KH Sutherland medal.

Abstract

The potential for concentrating solar thermal energy in minerals processing

Gus will address the potential for concentrated solar thermal energy to make a significant contribution to the supply of process heat at both medium (250-450°C) and high (>450°C) temperatures. Emerging technology in solar particle receivers offer potential to achieve temperatures of ~1000°C, due to their efficient adsorption of radiation, while also offering a potential thermal storage medium. These temperatures are applicable to the calcination of alumina and lime/cement, and to emerging direct iron-ore reduction processes. They are also suitable to drive gasification of reactive feedstock and to reform natural gas, offering potential for a solar thermal contribution to the fuels currently used in high-temperature processes. However, any practical system needs to integrate the variable solar resource into a steady-state, continuous industrial process. Gus’s seminar will focus on the technology and underpinning fundamental research being undertaken at the University of Adelaide to address these challenges. This includes alumina calcination, solar gasification, particle receivers, thermal storage, and the application of laser-diagnostics to provide in-situ and well-resolved measurements needed to develop reliable and predictive engineering design tools.