Professor Gus Nathan

Director Centre for Energy Technology
Professor Gus Nathan
  Org Unit School of Mechanical Engineering
  Telephone +61 8 8313 5822
  Location Floor/Room 1 35 ,  Engineering South ,   North Terrace

Gus Nathan is the founding Director of The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology. He has led the centre in developing its vision, identifying priorities and devising and implementing a strategic plan. Under his leadership the Centre has identified novel approaches with strong potential to make a breakthrough in the delivery of low-cost, clean energy technologies and has engaged with partners spanning industry, international research institutions and government agencies.


Professor Nathan is an ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher who specialises in thermal energy engineering in systems supplied by solar, geothermal and the combustion of fossil and bio-fuels, but also works with hydrogen, wind and wave power. His recent work has focussed on novel approaches to integrate and optimise these different energy sources. He has played a leading role in the development of six 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 or gasification, with one patent pending in this field.


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 reacting flows with particles including soot and with combined radiation and convective heat transfer.


He has published widely in the above fields, jointly authoring some 100 papers in international journals and 150 in peer reviewed conferences. His publications on technology include 8 patents (filed or granted) and 50 consultant’s reports. He is presently on the editorial board of Prog. Energy Combust. Sci. of Exp. Therm. Fluid Sci., and of J. Combustion and formerly 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.


Personal Awards:

• Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (2011-13), The Australian Research Council, which supports his present position. 
• Paul Henderson Prize (2006), The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, for best journal paper
• Best Industrial Paper (2003) - For the Joint Meeting of the Australian Symposium on Combustion and 8th Australian Flame Days, Monash University, 8-9 Dec. 2003.
• Supervisor of the Year - nominated (2002 & 2003) - University of Adelaide Postgrad. Students Association: Nominated by post-grad. students under his supervision.
• Science (Special Recognition) Award (2001) - SA Government SA Great Awards. Awarded for contribution to the Design of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Relay Torch.
• South Australian Tall Poppy Award (2000) - Australian Institute of Political Science: Awarded to outstanding young South Australian researchers.
• KL Sutherland Memorial Medal (1998) - Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering: "In recognition of an outstanding development or application of [precessing jet] technology which has contributed to improving the quality of life for the Australian community".
• David Warren Travelling Fellowship (1992) - The Combustion Institute, for presentation of paper in the 1992 International Symposium on Combustion.
• South Australian Energy Council Post Graduate Scholarship (1984-88)
• Petroleum Refineries Aust. Pty. Ltd. Prize (1983) - Best Honours Design Project / Research Thesis
• Wales Australian Mathematics Competition - (1978) Distinction, (1979) - Credit.

Team Awards:

  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Collaborative R&D (2001): - Business / Higher Education Round Table (B/HERT) and AusIndustry, for Joint Development of the Gyro-Therm Burner (Small Business) Team leader: Nathan
  • Engineering Excellence Award in the field of Innovation (2000) - Institution of Engineers Australia, SA Division: to Fluid-MEC and FCT for the "Design of the fuel and combustion system for the Olympic Torch". Team Leader: Dr G.J. Nathan

Awards to students supervised by Dr Nathan:

• Honours Best Energy Related Project Student Prize (2007): Awarded to Natassia Hill-Ling and Rachael Slattery, Supervisor: Dr G.J. Nathan
• Aust. Inst. Energy (2006) National Prize for best postgraduate student poster in Coal and Combustion Category, Sydney, To: George Szego, Supervisors: Dally and Nathan
• Aust. Inst. Energy (2005) Gold medal for best postgraduate student poster in Innovation Category, Adelaide, To: George Szego, Supervisors: Dally and Nathan
• Aust. Inst. Energy (2005) Gold medal for best postgraduate student poster in More with Less Category, Adelaide, To: Philip van Eyk, Supervisors: Ashman, Alwahabi and Nathan
• Joint Best Postgraduate Conference Paper (2002) - 3rd Aust. Conf. on Laser Diag. in Fluid Mech. & Comb., Brisbane, to Chong Wong: Supervisors: Nathan and Kelso.
• Young Engineer of the Year Commendation (2000) -IEAust, SA Division: PhD candidate Jordan Parham.
• Mobile Refining (Australia) PTY. LTD. Honours Student Prize in Mechanical Engineering (2000). To: R. Craig & T. Mc Gorm, Supervisors: Nathan and Mullinger.
• Best Postgraduate Conference Paper (1999) - 2nd Aust. Conf. on Laser Diag. in Fluid Mech. & Comb, Melbourne, To: Julie Reppel, Supervisors: Alwahabi, King, Nathan
• Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering Symposium Fellowship (1998). Awarded to PhD candidate Jordan Parham, supervisors:
• International Travelling Scholarship for Undergraduate Projects in Automotive Design (1997): Awarded to Stephen Johnston, Supervisor: Dr G.J. Nathan
• Mech Test Level IV Prize Student Prize for commercial potential (1995): Awarded to Ben Bailey and Stephan Gruber, Supervisor: Dr G.J. Nathan


Professor Graham 'Gus' J. Nathan, B.E. (Hons), PhD, CPEng, FIEAust.


Fellow, Institution of Engineers Aust (2001 - present) Chartered Member of the IEAust;
International Kiln Association: Member, (1994- ), Director (2001- )
Member, The Combustion Institute, Aust. & New Zealand Sect., Committee member (2002- )
Member, International Society of Electrostatic Precipitation (2006 - )


Concentrating Solar Thermal Energy, Combustion Technology, Alternative Fuels, Sustainable High Temperature Minerals Processing, Air Pollution control, Fluid Mechanics, Thermodynamics, Laser Diagnostics, Two Phase Flows, Geothermal Energy, Wind Power

ExpertiseEnergy; Renewable Energy; solar; Clean Energy Technology; Combustion technology; air pollution; Low-carbon economy; Cost-effective pathways to emissions reduction;
NotesAlt phone: 0410 477 411
Mobile0410 477 411
After hours(08) 8388 2047

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Entry last updated: Monday, 10 Apr 2017

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