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Department of Environment and Geography

Peter Nelson

Profile Photo
Email dean.-sciencemq.-edu.-au
Position Executive Dean (Acting)
Room No. E6A 202


Peter Nelson was appointed Professor of Environmental Studies, Macquarie University in 2001, and Associate Dean Research in the Faculty of Science in 2008. He was previously Senior Principal Research Scientist in CSIRO Energy Technology, where he managed projects on energy and the environment, air pollutant measurement, mechanism of formation and control. Professor Nelson has had more than 30 years experience in research on the assessment and control of air pollution and on environmental issues associated with energy use.

Professor Nelson’s research expertise is in the assessment and control of pollution and on environmental issues associated with energy use, with emphasis on toxic organics from industrial and vehicular sources, trace elements and waste management. The outputs of this research have been published in the scientific literature (> 200 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers), and in major commissioned reports for government and industry. Much of this work was done in close co-operation either directly with industry (eg, ARC-Linkage projects with RioTinto; CRC program; Australian Coal Association Research Program, NSW Power Generators) or government (eg, with the Australian Greenhouse Office; Department of Environment Water Heritage & the Arts, New South Wales Department of Environment Climate Change & Water).

Research Interests

Atmospheric Chemistry & Air Quality

This work includes:

  • atmospheric chemistry of pollutants and greenhouse gases, including characterisation of the composition of gas and particulate phase trace pollutants,
  • methods for the measurement and estimation of greenhouse gas emissions from energy and waste sources
  • inventory development, and methods for determining source contributions to atmospheric concentrations,
  • modelling of atmospheric transformations.

Professor Nelson also initiated and directed a project to construct an environmental chamber to study formation of secondary organic aerosols, and the fate of trace toxic species in the atmosphere. He has been responsible for the management of projects related to Reactive/Predictive NOx management in the context of industrial development of (for example) gas-fired cogeneration and combined cycle plants; impact assessment of secondary air pollutants associated with power production; and analysis of air quality monitoring data using various modelling approaches.

Energy & the Environment

Current research interests here include trace emissions from coal combustion, with a particular emphasis on mercury; motor vehicle emissions, particularly associated with alternate fuels and improved fuel quality; sources and atmospheric chemistry of volatile organic compounds; and interactions between air pollutants and global climate processes.

Selected Pulications

  1. Duffy B.L. Nelson P.F. Ye Y. and Weeks I.A. (1999) Speciated hydrocarbon profiles and calculated reactivities of exhaust and evaporative emissions from 82 in-use light-duty Australian vehicles. Atmospheric Environment, 33, 291-307.
  2. Cowan A.D. Cant N.W. Haynes B.S. and Nelson P.F. (1996) The catalytic chemistry of nitromethane over Co-ZSM5 and other catalysts under the conditions of the methane-NOx SCR reaction. J. Catal., 176, 329-343.
  3. Cope M.E. Hess G.D. Lee S. Tory K. Azzi M. Carras J. Lilley W. Manins P.C. Nelson P.F. Ng L. Puri K. Wong N. Walsh S. and Young M. (2004) The Australian Air Quality Forecasting System. Part I. Project description and early outcomes. J. Applied Meteorology, 43, 649-662.
  4. Park D.-C., Day S.J. and Nelson P.F. (2005) Nitrogen release during reaction of coal char with O2, CO2 and H2O. Proc. Combustion Institute 30, 2169-2175.
  5. Nelson PF (2007) Trace metal emissions in fine particles from coal combustion. Energy & Fuels, 21, 477-484.
  6. Nelson PF (2007) Atmospheric emissions of mercury from Australian point sources. Atmospheric Environment, 41, 1717-1724.
  7. Amanda Keogh and Peter F Nelson (2007) Engaging stakeholders in air pollution research – participatory assessment of mitigation measures. 14th International Union of Air Pollution Prevention and Environmental Protection Associations World Congress (IUAPPA2007), Brisbane, 9-13 September 2007.
  8. Beer T. Grant T. Morgan G. Lapszewicz J. Anyon P. Edwards J.H. Nelson P.F. Watson H. and Williams D.J. (2001) Comparison of transport fuels. Report EV45A/2/F3C to the Australian Greenhouse Office, 485 pp.
  9. Peter F. Nelson, Merched Azzi, John Carras, Martin Cope, Stuart Day, Brendan Halliburton, Glen Huber, Anne Tibbett, Simon Bentley, Ian Galbally, Rob Gillett, Sarah Lawson, Mick Meyer, Paul Selleck, Ian Weeks and W Kirstine (2004) Biogenic emissions in the greater Sydney region. Final Report to the Environmental Research Trust, ET/IR 686R, May 2004, 220 pp.
  10. Malfroy H. Cope M. and Nelson P.F. (2005) An assessment of the contribution of coal-fired power station emissions to atmospheric particle concentrations in NSW. Report to Delta Electricity, Eraring Electricity and Macquarie Generation, March 2005, 100 pp
  11.  Nelson PF, Nguyen H and Malfroy H (2007) Study of Current Regulatory and Voluntary Measures related to mercury in Australia. Final report to the Australian Department of Environment and Water Resources RFQ 101/0607DEW, August 2007, 135 pp.

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