Energy and Environmental Contaminants Research Centre

Energy and Environmental Contaminants Research Centre

Energy and Environmental Contaminants Research Centre

The Energy and Environmental Contaminants Research Centre at Macquarie University is a diverse group of scientists working towards improving human health.

Pollution, with its source in the energy and resource industries, is a major threat to our health. Fugitive emissions of greenhouse gases and environmental contaminants such as toxic gases, fine particles and heavy metals in terrestrial and aquatic systems are amongst the research themes our scientists are tackling.

The Energy and Environmental Contaminants Research Centre (EECRC) researches mature industrial technologies, including studies of gas and particulate pollution from mining, coal fired power stations, motor vehicles and the iron and steel smelting industries. Our studies have considered the legacy of land contamination from mining and smelting; monitoring and assessment of fuel spills in cold climates, in conjunction with ecotoxicology studies; and large-scale waste management of the pollutants from mining and energy production.

Research opportunities and developments

More recently, our interests have turned towards developing technologies. We are now investigating carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), and toxic emissions from post-combustion capture; gas quality and gas cleaning in oxy-combustion of fuels; the development of technology for exploitation of lower carbon transition fuels, such as coal seam and shale gas; fugitive emissions of methane, and produced water quality and treatment.

This research is critical to decision making and risk assessments. Our team extends its work to finding solutions to the problems these environmental contaminants create. Recently, we have considered the beneficial use of waste materials in agriculture and biofuels; catalytic removal of organics and CO2 from process and waste streams; and the environmental impact of produced water spills.

Acclaimed academics

Centre members have contributed to national and international initiatives in the assessment and management of environmental contaminants, including: United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Expert Group on the Minamata Convention; the Global Mercury Assessments in 2013 and 2018; and as co-chair of the UNEP Coal Mercury Partnership. Members have also participated in the review of NSW EPA’s Management of Contaminated Sites.

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