Researcher biography


Simon Smart is Acting Director of the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation, Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering, and Director of the Functional Interfacial Materials and Membranes Laboratory (FIM2Lab) at The University of Queensland. His research is centred around the sustainable production and use of energy and chemicals. There are two distinct research programs. The first is technical in its focus – the development of enabling technologies and processes for the production of clean energy, materials and water, including:

  • the design and development of inorganic membranes and hybrid nanocomposite materials for gas and water separation in FIM2Lab;
  • 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.

The second research program is much broader, encompassing the role of energy in society and tries to answer the questions:

  • 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? This work is undertaken in the Dow Centre where Dr Smart collaborates with leading international institutions.
  • 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, Dr Smart lends 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.

Dr Smart has 90 publications including 9 book chapters and 81 international journal articles at an h-index of 24. He has two Highly Cited papers in chemistry and geoscience and was selected as one of the 2018 Class of Influential Researchers by Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. Dr Smart 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. He was also awarded 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.