Peter Nelson

Professor, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research Performance and Innovation)

  • 4783 Citations
  • 40 h-Index
1978 …2019
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Personal profile


Professor Peter Nelson is Pro-Vice Chancellor, (Research Performance and Innovation) and a Professor of Environmental Studies at Macquarie University.

As Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research (P&I), Professor Nelson oversees the development and implementation of strategies to facilitate research innovation, build research capacity and optimise the University’s research assessment and metrics capabilities.

As a Scientist, Professor Nelson has more than 30 years’ experience in research on the assessment and control of air pollution and on environmental issues associated with energy production and use. In recent years Peter has developed a program of research on mercury, a toxic trace metal with a variety of industrial sources, and long-standing use in industrial processes and commercial products. In 2013 the United Nations agreed on a Convention for mercury management and Peter’s research contributed to Australia’s understanding of this issue. Peter has subsequently led the development of the United Nations Environment Programme guidelines on best available techniques and best environmental practices for controlling non-ferrous metal smelting. He is currently a member of the expert group preparing the 2018 Global Mercury Assessment and co-lead of the UN Environment Partnership on mercury from Coal Combustion.

Professor Nelson was Project Leader (Emissions and Waste) in the CRC for Coal in Sustainable Development (CCSD). He has managed projects for NERDDP, ACARP, Pacific Power, ICI, NSW Environmental Research Trusts, RTA, Commonwealth EPA, NSW EPA, Federal Airports Corporation and the National Greenhouse Inventory Committee. Peter is the author of more than 120 peer reviewed journal papers, 130 conference papers and 100 reports to government agencies and industry on aspects of fuel and atmospheric chemistry and urban and industrial air pollution measurement, assessment and control.

Professor 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. He completed a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Sydney. He has subsequently pursued his equal interest in the Humanities and holds a BA in English Literature from Macquarie University.

Research interests

atmospheric chemistry

air pollution measurement, assessment, management and control

sources, transport and fate of mercury in the environment

emissions of biogenic organic compounds from vegetation

environmental impacts of coal combustion



Education/Academic qualification

Graduate Member, GAICD, Australian Institute of Company Directors

English Literature, BA, Macquarie University

Physical Chemistry, PhD, University of Sydney

Inorganic Chemistry, BSc (Hons), University of Sydney

External positions

• Co-lead UN Environment Partnership on Mercury Control in Coal Combustion, UN Environment

Mar 2017 → …

• Science Leader (Environmental Risk) , Australian National Low Emission Coal Research and Development (ANLECR&D)

2008 → …

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Projects 2006 2018

NanoMin; Quantitative Mineral Mapping of Nanoscale Processes

Kennedy, M., Sorrell, C., Haberlah, D., Dewhurst, D., Turner, S., Gore, D., O'Reilly, S., Van Kranendonk, M., Nelson, P., Le-Clech, P., Koshy, P., Foden, J., Ward, C., Sherwood, N. & Haghighi, M.

18/03/16 → …

Project: Research

Hot stage separation of non-ferrous fraction during iron ore reduction

Strezov, V., Frost, R., Nelson, P., Evans, T. & MQRES (International), M. (.

23/12/14 → …

Project: Research

Research Outputs 1978 2019

Biomass-fueled direct carbon fuel cells

Kan, T., Strezov, V., Town, G. & Nelson, P., 2019, Renewable energy systems from biomass: efficiency, innovation, and sustainability. Strezov, V. & Anawar, H. M. (eds.). Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, p. 225-241 17 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

Characterization of size resolved atmospheric particles in the vicinity of iron and steelmaking industries in China

Yang, X., Zhou, X., Kan, T., Strezov, V., Nelson, P., Evans, T. & Jiang, Y., 1 Dec 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 694, 11 p., 133534.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

atmospheric particle
Air quality

Sorption-enhanced thermochemical conversion of sewage sludge to syngas with intensified carbon utilization

Yang, X., Tian, S., Kan, T., Zhu, Y., Xu, H., Strezov, V., Nelson, P. & Jiang, Y., 15 Nov 2019, In : Applied Energy. 254, 8 p., 113663.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Waste utilization
Sewage sludge

Ambient air quality and indoor exposure: PM2.5 implications for health in Suva Fiji

Isley, C. F., Nelson, P. F., Taylor, M. P., Morrison, A., Atanacio, A. J., Stelcer, E. & Cohen, D. D., Mar 2018, In : Air Quality and Climate Change. 52, 1, p. 35-43 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

ambient air
air quality
urban area
indoor air

Assessing the contribution of coal-fired power station emissions to atmospheric concentrations of fine particles in New South Wales

Malfroy, H. & Nelson, P., Dec 2018, In : Air Quality and Climate Change. 52, 4, p. 20-23 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review