Dr Surawski has been employed as a lecturer in Environmental Engineering at UTS since late 2016. Prior to this appointment, he undertook doctoral studies in vehicle emissions at QUT, followed by post-doctoral positions at the CSIRO in pyrogenic carbon cycle dynamics and the Cyprus Institute in atmospheric aerosols. Through these research experiences, Nic has well developed expertise in the measurement of gaseous and particulate emissions from combustion systems as well as quantitative tools that draw from disciplines such as applied and computational mathematics, statistics and operations research to support these research activities. As such, Nic’s research activities are heavily focussed on mitigating the negative impacts of combustion processes occurring in the environment with emissions from vehicles and bushfires representing typical applications. Nic has delivered research projects to a variety of stakeholders in his work such as with city councils, alternative engine design companies and federal environmental departments.
Can supervise: YES
Dr Surawski has broad research interests in physico-chemical processes in the environment with air quality and combustion being major foci. Current research activites are centred around:
- Measurement of gaseous and particulate emissions from vehicles
- Real driving emissions measurements using PEM systems
- Low cost sensing of urban air quality
Dr Surawski is currently recruiting for PhD students with an interest in researching:
- Real Driving Emissions (RDE)
- Low-cost sensing of air quality
Dr Surawski is a lecturer in:
- Air and Noise Pollution (49049)
- Principles of Environmental Engineering (48221)
- Decentralised Environmental Systems (49127)
- Ecology and Sustainability (49122)
Dr Surawski is also the coursework projects co-ordinator for the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Huang, Y, Surawski, NC, Organ, B, Zhou, JL, Tang, OHH & Chan, EFC 2019, 'Fuel consumption and emissions performance under real driving: Comparison between hybrid and conventional vehicles.', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 659, pp. 275-282.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are perceived to be more energy efficient and less polluting than conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. However, increasing evidence has shown that real-driving emissions (RDE) could be much higher than laboratory type approval limits and the advantages of HEVs over their conventional ICE counterparts under real-driving conditions have not been studied extensively. Therefore, this study was conducted to evaluate the real-driving fuel consumption and pollutant emissions performance of HEVs against their conventional ICE counterparts. Two pairs of hybrid and conventional gasoline vehicles of the same model were tested simultaneously in a novel convoy mode using two portable emission measurement systems (PEMSs), thus eliminating the effect of vehicle configurations, driving behaviour, road conditions and ambient environment on the performance comparison. The results showed that although real-driving fuel consumption for both hybrid and conventional vehicles were 44%-100% and 30%-82% higher than their laboratory results respectively, HEVs saved 23%-49% fuel relative to their conventional ICE counterparts. Pollutant emissions of all the tested vehicles were lower than the regulation limits. However, HEVs showed no reduction in HC emissions and consistently higher CO emissions compared to the conventional ICE vehicles. This could be caused by the frequent stops and restarts of the HEV engines, as well as the lowered exhaust gas temperature and reduced effectiveness of the oxidation catalyst. The findings therefore show that while achieving the fuel reduction target, hybridisation did not bring the expected benefits to urban air quality.
Huang, Y, Ng, ECY, Yam, Y-S, Lee, CKC, Surawski, NC, Mok, W-C, Organ, B, Zhou, JL & Chan, EFC 2019, 'Impact of potential engine malfunctions on fuel consumption and gaseous emissions of a Euro VI diesel truck', ENERGY CONVERSION AND MANAGEMENT, vol. 184, pp. 521-529.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Howard, D, Macsween, K, Edwards, GC, Desservettaz, M, Guérette, EA, Paton-Walsh, C, Surawski, NC, Sullivan, AL, Weston, C, Volkova, L, Powell, J, Keywood, MD, Reisen, F & (Mick) Meyer, CP 2019, 'Investigation of mercury emissions from burning of Australian eucalypt forest surface fuels using a combustion wind tunnel and field observations', Atmospheric Environment, pp. 17-27.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 Environmental cycling of the toxic metal mercury (Hg) is ubiquitous, and still not completely understood. Volatilisation and emission of mercury from vegetation, litter and soil during burning represents a significant return pathway for previously-deposited atmospheric mercury. Rates of such emission vary widely across ecosystems as they are dependent on species-specific uptake of atmospheric mercury as well as fire return frequencies. Wildfire burning in Australia is currently thought to contribute between 1 and 5% of the global total of mercury emissions, yet no modelling efforts to date have utilised local mercury emission factors (mass of emitted mercury per mass of dry fuel) or local mercury emission ratios (ratio of emitted mercury to another emitted species, typically carbon monoxide). Here we present laboratory and field investigations into mercury emission from burning of surface fuels in dry sclerophyll forests, native to the temperate south-eastern region of Australia. From laboratory data we found that fire behaviour — in particular combustion phase — has a large influence on mercury emission and hence emission ratios. Further, emission of mercury was predominantly in gaseous form with particulate-bound mercury representing <1% of total mercury emission. Importantly, emission factors and emission ratios with respect to carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, from both laboratory and field data all show that gaseous mercury emission from biomass burning in Australian dry sclerophyll forests is currently overestimated by around 60%. Based on these results, we recommend a mercury emission factor of 28.7 ± 8.1 g Hg kg 1 dry fuel, and emission ratio of gaseous elemental mercury relative to carbon monoxide of 0.58 ± 0.01 × 10 7 , for estimation of mercury release from the combustion of Australian dry sclerophyll litter.
Volkova, L, Roxburgh, SH, Surawski, NC, Meyer, CP & Weston, CJ 2019, 'Improving reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions from forest fires for emission reduction benefits: An example from Australia', Environmental Science and Policy, vol. 94, pp. 49-62.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Forest fires are a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Accurate reporting of GHG emissions from forest fires requires development of detailed methodologies and country specific data for estimating emissions. In recent years, Australia has updated its national methodology for reporting GHG emissions from fires on temperate forested lands, using a Tier 2 approach of the 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. This involved refinement of the equation for estimating GHG emissions from fires provided in the Guidance, and the revision of country specific data which was derived from a comprehensive literature review. The refinements were key to transparent reporting and evaluation of the climatic impacts of mitigation actions such as forest fire management. In this paper we describe the steps required to develop a Tier 2 method in reporting fire emissions using this Australian example, the lessons learnt, and the steps required to reduce uncertainties in estimates. This paper may assist other countries seeking to estimate and report GHG emissions from forest fires by moving from the default Tier 1 method to Tier 2 using country-specific information.
Douglas, A, Torpy, F, Surawski, N & Irga, P 2018, 'Mapping Urban Aerosolized Fungi: Predicting Spatial and Temporal Indoor Concentrations', Human Ecology Review, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 81-103.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The prediction of bioaerosols, specifically airborne fungi, can be achieved using various mapping techniques, potentially enabling the determination of ambient indoor concentrations within environments where people spend most of their time. The concentration and composition of indoor air pollutants are determined by
a multitude of variables, with building ventilation type being the most predominant factor in most scenarios. A predictive statistical model-based methodology for mapping airborne fungi was developed utilizing satellite-based technology. Mapping was carried out for total aerosolized fungal spores and the diversity of aerosolized fungi in Sydney, Australia, over four seasons. Corresponding data for
a range of environmental parameters known to influence airborne fungi were also used, notably green space density, land cover, altitude, meteorological variables, and other locally determined factors. Statistical models previously developed from the combined meteorological and environmental variable data were used to establish spatiotemporal models for airborne fungi across the study area for each season.
Results showed that the models produced reasonable predictions of monitored aeromycota concentrations; although, the accuracy of these predictions for individual survey periods was variable. Using known indoor/outdoor (I/O) ratios of airborne fungi for the area, the prevalence and concentrations of indoor aeromycota were
modeled for buildings with both natural and mechanical ventilation. As accurate manual assessment of the aeromycota is labor, time, and cost intensive, the current findings should assist in the prediction of fungal aerosols in both urban and indoor environments. Additionally, understanding the indoor microbiome has great importance for the health and well-being of the occupants concerned.
Huang, Y, Organ, B, Zhou, JL, Surawski, NC, Hong, G, Chan, EFC & Yam, YS 2018, 'Emission measurement of diesel vehicles in Hong Kong through on-road remote sensing: Performance review and identification of high-emitters', ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, vol. 237, pp. 133-142.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Huang, Y, Organ, B, Zhou, JL, Surawski, NC, Hong, G, Chan, EFC & Yam, YS 2018, 'Remote sensing of on-road vehicle emissions: Mechanism, applications and a case study from Hong Kong', ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT, vol. 182, pp. 58-74.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Sullivan, AL, Surawski, NC, Crawford, D, Hurley, RJ, Volkova, L, Weston, CJ & Meyer, CP 2018, 'Effect of woody debris on the rate of spread of surface fires in forest fuels in a combustion wind tunnel', Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 424, pp. 236-245.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 The treatment of the contribution of woody debris (WD, such as branches or small logs >6–50 mm diameter) to the rate of forward spread of a fire in current operational forest fire spread models is inconsistent. Some models do not take into account this fuel at all (i.e. only consider the combustion of fine fuels (6 mm diameter)), while others incorporate effects based on little or no data. An experimental programme utilising a large combustion wind tunnel investigated the effect of WD on the spread of fires burning through forest litter (surface fuel) beds of 1.0 kg m-2. Fires spreading with (heading) and against (backing) the wind were investigated. Three treatments of WD load (0.2, 0.6 and 1.2 kg m-2) and a control (0 kg m-2) were studied using a single constant wind speed (1.0 m s-1) and a narrow range of fine and woody fuel moisture contents (10.0–12.7% and 9.2–11.6% oven-dry weight, respectively) determined by ambient conditions. Presence of WD was found to approximately halve the overall rate of spread of heading fires relative to when no WD was present, regardless of the level of treatment. No effect of WD on rate of spread was found for backing fires. Potential explanations of these findings and implications for the use of operational forest fire spread models are explored, as are future research needs.
Huang, Y, Ng, ECY, Zhou, JL, Surawski, NC, Chan, EFC & Hong, G 2018, 'Eco-driving technology for sustainable road transport: A review', Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 93, pp. 596-609.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Road transport consumes significant quantities of fossil fuel and accounts for a significant proportion of CO2 and pollutant emissions worldwide. The driver is a major and often overlooked factor that determines vehicle performance. Eco-driving is a relatively low-cost and immediate measure to reduce fuel consumption and emissions significantly. This paper reviews the major factors, research methods and implementation of eco-driving technology. The major factors of eco-driving are acceleration/deceleration, driving speed, route choice and idling. Eco-driving training programs and in-vehicle feedback devices are commonly used to implement eco-driving skills. After training or using in-vehicle devices, immediate and significant reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been observed with slightly increased travel time. However, the impacts of both methods attenuate over time due to the ingrained driving habits developed over the years. These findings imply the necessity of developing quantitative eco-driving patterns that could be integrated into vehicle hardware so as to generate more constant and uniform improvements, as well as developing more effective and lasting training programs and in-vehicle devices. Current eco-driving studies mainly focus on the fuel savings and CO2 reduction of individual vehicles, but ignore the pollutant emissions and the impacts at network levels. Finally, the challenges and future research directions of eco-driving technology are elaborated.
Huang, Y, Yam, YS, Lee, CKC, Organ, B, Zhou, JL, Surawski, NC, Chan, EFC & Hong, G 2018, 'Tackling nitric oxide emissions from dominant diesel vehicle models using on-road remote sensing technology.', Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), vol. 243, no. Pt B, pp. 1177-1185.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Remote sensing provides a rapid detection of vehicle emissions under real driving condition. Remote sensing studies showed that diesel nitrogen oxides emissions changed little or were even increasing in recent years despite the tightened emission standards. To more accurately and fairly evaluate the emission trends, it is hypothesized that analysis should be detailed for individual vehicle models as each model adopted different emissions control technologies and retrofitted the engine/vehicle at different time. Therefore, this study was aimed to investigate the recent nitric oxide (NO) emission trends of the dominant diesel vehicle models using a large remote sensing dataset collected in Hong Kong. The results showed that the diesel vehicle fleet was dominated by only seven models, accounting for 78% of the total remote sensing records. Although each model had different emission levels and trends, generally all the dominant models showed a steady decrease or stable level in the fuel based NO emission factors (g/kg fuel) over the period studied except for BaM1 and BdM2. A significant increase was observed for the BaM1 2.49L and early 2.98L models during 2005-2011, which we attribute to the change in the diesel fuel injection technology. However, the overall mean NO emission factor of all the vehicles was stable during 1991-2006 and then decreased steadily during 2006-2016, in which the emission trends of individual models were averaged out and thus masked. Nevertheless, the latest small, medium and heavy diesel vehicles achieved similar NO emission factors due to the converging of operation windows of the engine and emission control devices. The findings suggested that the increasingly stringent European emission standards were not very effective in reducing the NO emissions of some diesel vehicle models in the real world.
Chu Van, T, Ristovski, Z, Surawski, N, Bodisco, TA, Rahman, SMA, Alroe, J, Miljevic, B, Hossain, FM, Suara, K, Rainey, T & Brown, RJ 2018, 'Effect of sulphur and vanadium spiked fuels on particle characteristics and engine performance of auxiliary diesel engines.', Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), vol. 243, no. Pt B, pp. 1943-1951.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Particle emission characteristics and engine performance were investigated from an auxiliary, heavy duty, six-cylinder, turbocharged and after-cooled diesel engine with a common rail injection system using spiked fuels with different combinations of sulphur (S) and vanadium (V) spiking. The effect of fuel S content on both particle number (PN) and mass (PM) was clearly observed in this study. Higher PN and PM were observed for fuels with higher S contents at all engine load conditions. This study also found a correlation between fuel S content and nucleation mode particle number concentration which have more harmful impact on human health than larger particles. The highest PN and PM were observed at partial load conditions. In addition, S in fuel resulted in higher viscosity of spiked fuels, which led to lower engine blow-by. Fuel V content was observed in this study, evidencing that it had no clear effect on engine performance and emissions. Increased engine load also resulted in higher engine blow-by. The lower peak of in-cylinder pressure observed at both pre-mixed and diffusion combustion phases with the spiked fuels may be associated with the lower energy content in the fuel blends compared to diesel fuel.
Douglas, A, Torpy, F, Surawski, N & Irga, P 2018, 'Mapping Urban Aerosolized Fungi: Predicting Spatial and Temporal Indoor Concentrations', HUMAN ECOLOGY REVIEW, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 81-103.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Surawski, NC, Bezantakos, S, Barmpounis, K, Dallaston, MC, Schmidt-Ott, A & Biskos, G 2017, 'A tunable high-pass filter for simple and inexpensive size-segregation of sub-10-nm nanoparticles.', Scientific Reports, vol. 7.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Recent advanced in the fields of nanotechnology and atmospheric sciences underline the increasing need for sizing sub-10-nm aerosol particles in a simple yet efficient way. In this article, we develop, experimentally test and model the performance of a High-Pass Electrical Mobility Filter (HP-EMF) that can be used for sizing nanoparticles suspended in gaseous media. Experimental measurements of the penetration of nanoparticles having diameters down to ca 1nm through the HP-EMF are compared with predictions by an analytic, a semi-empirical and a numerical model. The results show that the HP-EMF effectively filters nanoparticles below a threshold diameter with an extremely high level of sizing performance, while it is easier to use compared to existing nanoparticle sizing techniques through design simplifications. What is more, the HP-EMF is an inexpensive and compact tool, making it an enabling technology for a variety of applications ranging from nanomaterial synthesis to distributed monitoring of atmospheric nanoparticles.
Surawski, NC, Sullivan, AL, Roxburgh, SH, Meyer, CPM & Polglase, PJ 2016, 'Incorrect interpretation of carbon mass balance biases global vegetation fire emission estimates', NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, vol. 7.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Surawski, NC, Sullivan, AL, Roxburgh, SH & Polglase, PJ 2016, 'Estimates of greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions from a major Australian wildfire with high spatiotemporal resolution', Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 121, no. 16, pp. 9892-9907.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Estimates of greenhouse gases and particulate emissions are made with a high spatiotemporal resolution from the Kilmore East fire in Victoria, Australia, which burnt approximately 100,000 ha over a 12 h period. Altogether, 10,175 Gigagrams (Gg) of CO 2 equivalent (CO 2 -e) emissions occurred, with CO 2 (~68%) being the dominant chemical species emitted followed by CH 4 (~17%) and black carbon (BC) (~15%). About 63% of total CO 2 -e emissions were estimated to be from coarse woody debris, 22% were from surface fuels, 7% from bark, 6% from elevated fuels, and less than 2% from tree crown consumption. To assess the quality of our emissions estimates, we compared our results with previous estimates which used the Global Fire Emissions Database version 3.1 (GFED v3.1 ) and the Fire INventory from the National Center for Atmospheric Research version 1.0 (FINNv1), as well as Australia's National Inventory System (and its revision). The uncertainty in emission estimates was addressed using truncated Monte Carlo analysis, which derived a probability density function for total emissions from the uncertainties in each input. The distribution of emission estimates from Monte Carlo analysis was lognormal with a mean of 10,355 Gigagrams (Gg) and a ±1 standard deviation () uncertainty range of 7260-13,450 Gg. Results were in good agreement with the global data sets (when using the same burnt area), although they predicted lower total emissions by 15-37% due to underestimating fuel consumed. Emissions estimates can be improved by obtaining better estimates of fuel consumed and BC emission factors. Overall, this study presents a methodological template for high-resolution emissions accounting and its uncertainty, enabling a step toward process-based emissions accounting to be achieved.
Surawski, NC, Sullivan, AL, Meyer, CP, Roxburgh, SH & Polglase, PJ 2015, 'Greenhouse gas emissions from laboratory-scale fires in wildland fuels depend on fire spread mode and phase of combustion', ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, vol. 15, no. 9, pp. 5259-5273.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Surawski, NC, Miljevic, B, Bodisco, TA, Situ, R, Brown, RJ & Ristovski, ZD 2014, 'Performance and gaseous and particle emissions from a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fumigated compression ignition engine', FUEL, vol. 133, pp. 17-25.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Surawski, NC, Miljevic, B, Bodisco, TA, Brown, RJ, Ristovski, ZD & Ayoko, GA 2013, 'Application of Multicriteria Decision Making Methods to Compression Ignition Engine Efficiency and Gaseous, Particulate, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions', ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 1904-1912.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Ng, CY, Huang, Y, Hong, G, Zhou, J, Surawski, N, Ho, J & Chan, E 2018, 'Effects of an On-Board Safety Device on the Emissions and Fuel Consumption of a Light Duty Vehicle', SAE Technical Papers.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2018 SAE International. All Rights Reserved. Vehicle emissions and fuel consumption are significantly affected by driving behavior. Many studies of eco-driving technology such as eco-driving training, driving simulators and on-board eco-driving devices have reported potential reductions in emissions and fuel consumption. Use of on-board safety devices is mainly for safety, but also affects vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. In this study, an on-board safety device was installed to alert the driver and provide several types of warning to the driver (e.g. headway monitoring warning, lane collision warning, speed limit warning, etc.) to improve driving behavior. A portable emissions measurement system (PEMS) was used to measure vehicle exhaust concentrations, including hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The driving parameters including vehicle speed, acceleration and position were also recorded. A specific test route was designed for the experiment to investigate both urban and highway conditions. The driving parameters and emissions data were compared before and after the installation of the on-board safety device with the same driver. The Vehicle Specific Power (VSP) methodology was applied to evaluate the effects of the on-board safety device on driving behavior. The results indicated that the device had a positive effect on the driver's driving behavior. The percentage of time spent on excessive speeding and strong acceleration decreased from 22.2% to 14.7%. As a result, an average reduction of 25% in fuel consumption was observed. In addition, HC, CO2 and NOx emissions showed a reduction of 57%, 25% and 9% respectively. However, CO emission was increased and the time spent on idling showed no change with the installation of the device.
Surawski, N, Van, TC, Ristovski, Z, Cong, NL, Lan, HN, Yuan, CSJ, Rahman, SMA, Hossain, FM, Guo, Y, Milic, A, Rainey, T, Garaniya, V & Brown, RJ 2017, 'Effects of sulphur and vanadium contents in diesel fuel on engine performance and emissions: Principal component analysis (PCA)', 11th Asia-Pacific Conference on Combustion, ASPACC 2017.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
© 2018 Combustion Institute. All Rights Reserved. Marine diesel engines using Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) produce emissions of toxic compounds that have a negative impact on the environment and human health. A very limited number of on-board ship emission measurement studies have been undertaken due their logistical and regulatory complexity. An alternative way to investigate some issues relating to HFO fuels is by the use of a proxy fuel for HFO in a laboratory based diesel engine. Sulphur (S) and vanadium (V) are two elements of particular interest in HFO because of their relationship to particle formation and corrosive salt properties, respectively. An experimental engine campaign has been conducted on a heavy duty high speed six-cylinder turbocharged and after-cooled diesel engine with a common rail injection system. Principal Component Analysis has been applied in this study to investigate the relationships between: (i) measured engine performance and emissions variables and (ii) fuel S and V content and engine load.
Lodi, F, Bodisco, T, Surawski, N, Brown, RJ & Yousef, Y 2017, 'Modelling the effects of ethanol fumigation on engine performance and emissions in a six-cylinder, common rail diesel engine', 11th Asia-Pacific Conference on Combustion, ASPACC 2017, Asia-Pacific Conference on Combustion.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
© 2018 Combustion Institute. All Rights Reserved. This paper describes a one-dimensional thermodynamic model developed using AVL BOOST with the objective of analysing the performance, combustion parameters and NOx emissions of a Euro III, six-cylinder turbocharged Cummins diesel engine. The model was validated against experimental data obtained from the same engine run at a constant speed of 2000 rpm at varying load conditions (full, three quarter (3Q) and half load) using low sulphur diesel fuel (D100), as well as fumigated ethanol at 10% (D90), 20% (D80) and 30% (D70) substitutions (by energy). The results for D100, D90, D80 and D70 were found to be in good agreement with the experimental data. The percentage variation for engine performance parameters such as: brake power (BP), indicated power (IP), indicated torque (IT) and mean effective pressure (MEP) for D100 have been found to be approximately in the range of -5% to 1.5% for all loads, whereas, the fuel energy variation was only 0.33% for all loads. With increasing ethanol fumigation, a rise in peak pressure of the cycle, more rapid initial heat release rate and a reduction in the NOx emissions were observed in this study.