Picture of Dr Peter Mayfield

Dr Peter Mayfield: Business Unit Leader, Energy Technology

Dr Peter Mayfield leads CSIRO Energy Technology which is researching and developing technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy and transport sectors.

  • 16 February 2011 | Updated 14 October 2011

Current activities

CSIRO Energy Technology is focused on mitigating climate change by developing low emission energy technologies – that is, cleaner ways to use fossil fuels such as coal, as well as developing solar and wind technologies – and finding more efficient ways to produce and use energy.

Background

Dr Mayfield has worked in research and development in the resources industry for more than 20 years and is committed to driving science excellence across CSIRO Energy Technology.

He took up the role of Chief of CSIRO Energy Technology in September 2010, bringing with him extensive strategic experience in industry and a track record of achievement.

Dr Mayfield’s interest in chemical engineering was initiated in high school after participating in a one day school at the Chemical Engineering department of the University of Queensland, Australia.

The unique opportunity to undertake bench scale experiments and be confronted with real industrial problems generated a passion for science and engineering and its applications.

Dr Mayfield has worked in research and development in the resources industry for more than 20 years and is committed to driving science excellence across CSIRO Energy Technology.

He went on to study chemical engineering at the same university, where he also undertook his doctoral studies into gas separations using adsorption technology.

On completion of his Doctorate, Dr Mayfield took up a role at BHP’s Central Research Laboratories as a research engineer supporting the iron-making blast furnace operations of the organisation’s three steelworks.

This involved undertaking laboratory simulations and industrial scale trials to investigate ways to understand and improve blast furnace operation, including hearth and burden measurements taken inside No 5 BF at Port Kembla during its 1991 reline.

Dr Mayfield worked as a research engineer for a number of years before moving into investigating new pyrometallurgical processes.

These included novel processes for production of materials such as ferromanganese, magnesium and production of titania slag, the precursor for titania pigments.

The latter involved bench and pilot scale trials in Australia followed by plant scale trials and conversion of a processing plant in Norway with conjunction with a joint venture partner.

Following this role, Dr Mayfield accepted a one-year secondment to a project team working with McKinsey and Company on improved organisational design of industrial research and development within BHP. It was during this time that he gained valuable insights into the management of researchers and the research and development process.

Returning to a role in research, Dr Mayfield was chosen to lead the team providing research support to the hot briquetted iron developments in Western Australia and Venezuela.

This led to a secondment to Port Hedland in 1999 as part of the commissioning team for the new plant. Following some serious processing issues, a novel research based process solution was identified by the research team and successfully implemented by plant personnel.

In 2001, Dr Mayfield took on responsibility for the operation of BHP’s Newcastle Technology Centre (NTC) and managed the expansion of the lab from 80 to 230 staff.

He later added to his responsibilities the role of managing research groups for pyrometallurgical and process engineering and technical marketing. Immediately prior to working at CSIRO, he was the Global Technology Manager for Technical Marketing at BHP Billiton Technology.

Dr Mayfield is committed to driving science excellence. He has a strong commitment to zero harm and is working to ensure CSIRO Energy Technology is internationally recognised for its expertise in energy research.

He drives staff to achieve their full potential and share and develop new ideas.

Academic qualifications

Dr Mayfield has been awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering)
  • Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Queensland.

Memberships

Dr Mayfield is a:

  • Member, Institute of Engineers Australia
  • Former member of the Advisory Board, Chemical Engineering, University of Newcastle and Materials Science at University of NSW.

Read more about CSIRO Energy Technology.