Study level


Master of Philosophy


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Ian Mackinnon
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Associate Professor Yunfei Xi
Advance Queensland Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are an emerging class of crystalline materials that hold huge promise for significant applications such as adsorption, separation, catalysis and drug delivery. Attributed to their exceptional porosity and surface area, the adsorptive performance of MOF materials has high potential for solving challenging issues such as hydrogen storage, greenhouse gas capture and water vapour harvest in arid regions.

However, the practical application of many MOF materials encounters challenges from poor chemical stabilities, low yields and expensive manufacturing costs. With this in mind, we've developed a method to load MOF crystals onto natural minerals to address thermal and chemical stability while retaining high porosity that enables the highest  hydrogen storage capacity reported to date.

Based on this preliminary success, this project aims to further explore nano/micro-scale, locally-sourced minerals as supporting materials for MOFs in order to provide improved properties and capacities for hydrogen storage. Being the 'university for the real world', this project will not only concentrate on academic innovations but also solutions to practical problems.

Research activities

In this project, existing and undeveloped sources of industrial minerals abundant in Australia will be evaluated for the fabrication of different MOF-composite materials. These minerals may include:

  • kaolinite
  • diatomite
  • bentonite
  • palygorskite.

A combination of the two products/techniques via laboratory synthesis will further lead to high value-added gas storage products with high performance and improved cost efficiency for clean energy development.

You'll gain valuable and practical experience in the development and characterisation of these novel materials under the supervision of experienced scientists in this research field, including:


Depending on the level of study the objectives are to research and develop:

  • innovative materials that have high hydrogen storage capacities (Masters, PhD)
  • a fundamental understanding, at a microstructural level, of advanced energy storage materials (Masters, PhD)
  • theoretical construction of the relevant reactions and mechanisms under the framework of mineralogy, crystallography and materials science. (PhD).

Skills and experience

As the successful applicant you may have background in one or some of the below areas:

  • chemistry
  • material science
  • minerals (e.g. clay minerals).


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.