Humans of IFE - Professor Anthony O'Mullane

20th March 2020

Field of expertise: Electrochemistry

Position: Program Leader - Centre for Clean Energy Technology and Practices

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on the development of electrocatalysts for use in alkaline water electrolysis for the production of green hydrogen where the electrolyser can be directly integrated with intermittent renewable energy sources. I'm also working on systems to capture CO2 and convert it into solid forms such as elemental carbon and inorganic salts using liquid metal electrodes. 

Why is your work important?
The most important aspect is developing technology that doesn’t have a carbon footprint and producing a truly clean energy source such as hydrogen. It's also important to remove CO2 and convert it into an inert form as opposed to conversion into another carbon source that ultimately regenerates CO2. There is a critical need to actively remove carbon dioxide and strive towards negative emissions rather than simply initiating a carbon loop cycle. Resisting the urge to simply “value-add” to CO2 is important.

What excites or inspires you about your field?
Addressing climate change is highly inspirational! My research inspiration comes from the urgent need to improve our environment, developing clean energy to replace fossil fuels as quickly as possible. The exciting part is understanding how nature works in trying to solve these problems and pushing both simple and complex chemical systems to achieve this. Understanding the fundamental aspects of these chemical transformations is the most exciting aspect.

What are your hopes for the future?
My hope for the future is the rapid development and adoption of the “hydrogen society” where the generation of a clean fuel with no carbon footprint will not only benefit the environment but society as a whole, creating new jobs and bringing cheap energy to remote and developing communities.

Learn more about the work QUT and the Institute for Future Environments is doing in the clean energy sector here

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