Researcher biography


Simon Smart is Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland. His research is centred around the sustainable production and use of energy and chemicals - including the development of enabling technologies and processes for the production of clean energy, materials and water. Simon's technical research involves:

  • the design and development of inorganic membranes and hybrid nanocomposite materials for gas and water separation;
  • the use of molten metals and molten salts as liquid catalysts in the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation for
    • Low CO2 hydrogen production through methane pyrolysis,
    • CO2 utilisation to produce syngas through dry reforming,
    • Low CO2 iron production via molten iron salts,
    • Low CO2 cement production through co-generation of syngas;
  • optimising the energy systems and by-product recycling pathways for the Port Kembla Steel works.

Simon has been involved in the Rapid Switch initiative, in relation to pathways to decarbonisation of the global economy, since its inception at the UQ Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation, and is the UQ project leader for the Net Zero Australia project (a collaborative partnership with the University of Melbourne, Princeton & Nous). His research has addressed questions such as:

  • How fast can we decarbonise the global economy? What are the rate limiting steps that the world should be aware of moving forward? What path dependencies will lock in fossil based industry and delay GHG abatement?
  • What are the links between energy access, energy affordability and human centred outcomes? For example, is energy access a necessary or sufficient input in breaking the poverty cycle? Here, Simon has lent his technical expertise to the Energy and Poverty Research Group, a multidisciplinary team of students and researchers who are developing sustainable holstistic solutions to enhance energy access and clean cooking in India.

Simon has 126 publications including 9 book chapters and 105 international journal articles at an h-index of 35, with two Highly Cited papers in chemistry and geoscience. He was selected as one of the 2018 Class of Influential Researchers by Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Simon was awarded a prestigious Early Career Researcher Fellowship in 2012 from the Queensland Government to investigate silica based membranes for desalination applications in the coal seam gas industry, and a prestigious UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award for work on 'Low CO2 Iron and Petrochemicals Production' in 2016. Simon was the Secretary for the Membrane Society of Australasia from 2011 - 2013, where he served on the board of directors from 2010 - 2014.

Teaching and Learning:

Simon is currently the course coordinator for:

Energy Systems,

Engineering Leadership and Innovation, and

Energy Principles and Renewable Energy.

He also developed the ENGY0x version (open online course) of Energy Principles and Renewable Energy for the UQx platform.