Catalysis, renewable energy, Green Chemistry and functional nano-materials

Improving sustainability through molecular and nanoscopic technology

Key advantages
  • Research into molecular and nanoscopic technology applications.
  • Development of new catalytic chemical routes and processes.
  • Designing, preparing and characterising multi-functional assemblies.
  • Applications in catalysis, drug-delivery, medical imaging and forensic chemistry


Catalysis Laboratory

Catalysis Laboratory

The world is standing at the technological threshold of a revolution driven by the need for truly sustainable (industrial) processes, both in the production of chemicals as well as in the generation of power.

At current rates of resource usage, a world population operating with Australian standards of living would require between 4 to 6 planets to support itself. Clearly this is untenable.

From a chemical viewpoint, the inherent challenges can only be met by devising strategies for increased use of renewable resources, waste reduction, energy optimisation and process intensification, as outlined in the 12 principles of 'Green Chemistry'.

Our group aims to tackle these issues by generating and using new fundamental insights on the molecular and nanoscopic level to develop feasible leads for the design of new catalytic chemical routes and processes that will enhance sustainability.

Research and expertise capability

The Catalysis Laboratory's key expertise is in designing, preparing and characterising multi-functional assemblies, operating at various length-scales (from centimetres to picometers).

There is a strong focus on the use of renewable resources, such as the conversion of biomass to fuels (biodiesel and lignocellulosic ethanol) and the photocatalytic splitting of water to generate hydrogen.

Furthermore, ionic liquids and super-critical solvents such as carbon dioxide, alcohols and water – which can act both as solvent and catalyst – form the backbone of the lab's activities in process innovation.


The multi-functioning assemblies developed by the laboratory can be used in catalysis (including the integration of conversion and separation), drug-delivery systems, medical imaging, and forensic chemistry.


Catalysis Laboratory Equipment Resource

  • 1x SPR-16 (16 high pressure, high temperature robotic autoclave system, AMTECH)
  • 1x Hamilton Synthesis Robot (Cambridge Reactor Design)
  • 1x Adsorption/Desorption Surface Analyser (Micrometrics)
  • 2x furnaces
  • 1x Parallel Soxthlet Extraction Unit
  • 1x solvent drying system
  • 1 x HPLC (Shimadzu)
  • 3 x GC (Shimadzu, Varian, Hewlett Packard)
  • 1x HPLC/MS (Shimadzu)
  • 1x GC/MS (Shimadzu)
  • 4x Parr high pressure, high temperature autoclaves reactors

School Of Chemistry Co-supported Large Equipment:

  • Mass Spectrometry Unit
  • Electron Paramagnetic Resonance
  • NMR Laboratory
  • Optical Spectroscopy
  • Separations Laboratory
  • Crystal Structure Analysis Facility
  • Vibrational Spectroscopy Facility
  • Powder Xray Diffraction Facility
  • Surface Analysis Facility

Principal researchers / consultants