Peter Ashman

Professor Peter Ashman

School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Professor Peter Ashman is Deputy Dean (Performance & Infrastructure) of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences and also a Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering. As a senior member of the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology (CET), his current research interests are in the fields of biomass utilisation, bioenergy and solar thermal energy.

With colleagues in the Centre for Energy Technology (CET), Prof Ashman works on the development of new processes and technologies in the field of solar gasification. This group has been assessing process options for the production of synthetic transport fuels using solar gasification with coal, biomass and agricultural residues as feedstocks. They are also conducting experiments to assess the impact of intense solar radiation on the pyrolysis and gasification of solid fuels and the impact on ash formation and ash agglomeration mechanisms. They are planning larger-scale experiments making use of a unique 50kW solar simulator which is currently being constructed.

The Centre for Energy Technology, in conjunction with other university and industry collaborators, is also developing and accessing new approaches for the direct integration of solar thermal energy into various industrial processes including, with ARENA funding, the production of alumina.

Prof Ashman is also active in research leading to the commercial exploitation of microalgae and other biomass feedstocks, including sewage sludge, for the production of renewable biofuels. With colleagues, Prof David Lewis, Prof Michael Borowitzka (Murdoch University) and others, he has been involved in a large program of work to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of a fully integrated process for biofuel production from microalgae in saline water. This process includes the use of a technology called hydrothermal liquefaction, which can be applied to a range of wet biomass feedstocks for the production of a bio-crude oil that could, potentially, be further processed to drop-in biofuels within existing petroleum refineries. This research led to the establishment of a joint venture company, Muradel Pty Ltd, which has been commercialising and further developing this technology.

He also investigated the thermal processing of algal biomass in collaboration with SQC Pty Ltd. In previous work he has collaborated with James Cook University, Monash University, Zhengzhou University (China) and Umea University (Sweden). This work utilised an entrained flow reactor at Monash University and the fluid-bed combustion and gasification facilities at CET’s Thebarton facility in Adelaide. The CET laboratory has facilities for the preparation, characterisation and handling of solid fuels and a range of laboratory-scale and semi-industrial equipment suitable for fundamental and applied research, process development, and process verification and troubleshooting.

During his early career, Prof Ashman was a Key Researcher and Program Co-Leader with the Cooperative Centre for Clean Power from Lignite, leading a large group at the University of Adelaide focussing on the fluidised-bed gasification of Victorian and South Australian low-rank coals for the high-efficiency generation of electricity via Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) and on fundamental research questions related to this technology. This work was continued by the South Australian Coal Research Laboratory (SACRL), based at the University of Adelaide’s Research Park at Thebarton.

SACRL had a strong focus on the utilisation and performance of South Australian low-rank coals and other solids fuels, including biomass and waste fuels. SACRL included a team of researchers with extensive industrial and research experience in the fields of combustion science and technology, particularly in relation to solids fuel combustion. SACRL completed a program of work with Hybrid Energy Australia (a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASX-listed Strike Energy Limited) to successfully demonstrate fluidized-bed gasification technology associated with their FuturGas coal-to-liquids project based on their high-sodium, high-sulfur coal deposit located at Kingston in South Australia. SACRL also investigated the pyrolysis of Automotive Shredder Residue (ASR), thermal processing (combustion and gasification) of winery biomass residues, and gasification of algae biomass, algae/coal blends and algae/wood blends.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2018 Deputy Dean (Performance & Infrastructure), Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences University of Adelaide
    2017 - 2017 Head School of Chemical Engineering
    2017 - 2017 Deputy Executive Dean Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences
    2016 - 2017 Acting Executive Dean Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences
    2014 Professor, School of Chemical Engineering University of Adelaide
    2014 - 2016 Head School of Chemical Engineering
    2010 - 2013 Associate Professor, School of Chemical Engineering University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2013 Deputy Head, School of Chemical Engineering University of Adelaide
    2009 - 2014 Co-Deputy Director, Centre for Energy Technology University of Adelaide
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2006 University of Adelaide, Adelaide Australia Graduate Certificate in Education (Higher Education)
    2000 University of Sydney, Sydney Australia PhD (Chemical Engineering)
    1992 University of Sydney, Sydney Australia Master of Engineering (Research)
    1990 University of Sydney, Sydney Australia Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) (Hons.)
  • Research Interests

  • Phone: 83135072
  • Email: peter.ashman@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4361
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Ingkarni Wardli, floor 1
  • Org Unit: EC&MS Faculty Services

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