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Paul Brewer

Paul Brewer

NPL Fellow

Paul Brewer is an NPL Fellow and Head of Science of the Atmospheric Environmental Science Department, leading a team making advances in atmospheric chemistry, air pollution monitoring and the quality assurance of emerging fuels. He obtained a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Imperial College and a 1st Class Master of Chemistry degree from the University of Southampton. Since then he has worked for NPL. He chairs the CIPM Consultative Committee for Amount of Substance Gas Analysis Working Group, which oversees the comparability of gas analysis measurements between National Metrology Institutes worldwide. He represents NPL at the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch, providing the Central Calibration Laboratory for nitrogen monoxide and non-methane hydrocarbons and acts as an international accreditation technical expert for gas analysis.

Paul is a visiting Professor in the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol.
He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed publications. He is a Fellow and Chartered Chemist of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Current interests

Paul’s main research focus is on underpinning composition and isotope ratio measurements of key components governing atmospheric processes. He is recognised internationally for the development of gas reference materials with unprecedented uncertainties and advances in understanding the chemistry of components in the gas phase, their stability and behaviour at the interface with storage media. He developed the first synthetic carbon dioxide and methane reference materials with an ambient isotopic composition for addressing commutability issues and widespread traceability, high precision analytical methods for their validation and novel preparation approaches to reduce the influence of adsorption on measurement uncertainty.

Paul is leading international efforts towards establishing a robust and first-time infrastructure for SI traceable gas phase reference materials for isotope ratio of carbon dioxide and methane for source apportionment. This will solve the demand from the advent of commercial optical spectroscopy and issues in realising the scale which have existed for several decades. This includes an initiative on absolute isotope ratio measurements to put carbon dioxide isotope metrology on an SI basis for the first time. This work is essential to enable governments to develop accurate emission inventories and models to comply with climate legislation, challenge and inform new policy, improve abatement strategies, and mitigate emissions. 

Paul’s research also focusses on enabling decarbonisation and the energy transition. His department has established the world’s first accredited service for hydrogen purity to enable the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and injection into the national grid.

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Selected recent publications

  • Brewer PJ, Brown RJC, Miller MN, Minarro MD, Murugan A, Milton MJT, Rhoderick GC, Preparation and Validation of Fully Synthetic Standard Gas Mixtures with Atmospheric Isotopic Composition for Global CO2 and CH4 Monitoring, Analytical Chemistry, 86, 1887, (2014).
  • Brewer PJ, Brown R J C, Tarasova O A, Hall B, Rhoderick G C and Wielgosz R I, Underpinning measurements in gas analysis: scales and the SI, Metrologia, 55, S174, (2018).
  • Hill-Pearce R E, Resner K V, Worton D R, Brewer P J, A synthetic zero air reference material, Analytical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, 91 (3), 1974–1979, (2019).
  • Hodges J T, Viallon J, Brewer P J, Drouin B J, Gorshelev V, Janssen V, Lee S, Possolo A, Smith M A H, Walden J and Wielgosz R I, Recommendation of a consensus value of the ozone absorption cross-section at 253.65 nm based on literature review, Metrologia, 56 034001, (2019).
  • Brewer P J, Brown, R J C, Mussell Webber E, van Aswegen S, Ward M K M, Hill-Pearce R E, Worton D R, Breakthrough in negating the impact of adsorption in gas reference materials, Analytical Chemistry, 91 (8), pp 5310-5315, (2019).