Keynote Speakers

AHRC 2023 Keynote Speakers

Professor Peta Ashworth - Director of the Andrew N. Liveris Academy for Innovation and Leadership at University of Queensland

Professor Peta Ashworth OAM is the Director of the Andrew N. Liveris Academy for Innovation and Leadership, and Chair in Sustainable Energy Futures at The University of Queensland (UQ). Professor Ashworth brings over thirty years’ experience working in a range of senior management, consulting and research roles. In her previous role as Group Leader at CSIRO’s Division of Earth Science and Resource Engineering, Peta conceptualised and led the Science into Society Group, which specialised in interdisciplinary research at the interface between science, technology and society. 

Professor Ashworth is a globally-recognised expert in the fields of energy, communication, stakeholder engagement, and technology assessment. For almost two decades, Peta has been researching public attitudes toward climate and energy technologies, including wind, carbon capture and storage (CCS), solar photovoltaics, storage, nuclear geothermal and more recently hydrogen. She is the Chief Investigator on the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre Social License to Operate work package and an adviser on a number of Australian and international hydrogen research projects, including CSIRO’s Hydrogen Industry Mission.

Peta’s contributions to the field of sustainable energy include leading the social science research program of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, as well as working alongside Australia’s Chief Scientist in the development of Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy as a Member of the Strategy Stakeholder Advisory Panel, and the COAG Hydrogen Working Group. In March 2021, Professor Ashworth was appointed by Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government as Chair of the Hydrogen Taskforce.

In recognition of her service to science, in the field of sustainable energy, Peta was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2019.


Dr Fiona Beck - Convener of the Hydrogen Fuels Project at the Australian National University

Dr Fiona J Beck is a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s School of Engineering. Her research is focused on advancing the clean energy transition in two distinct ways: by developing new technologies to convert light into other forms of energy; and by collaboratively tackling big-picture, interdisciplinary problems that the energy sector is facing on its road to decarbonisation.  

Dr Beck leads a research group at the School of Engineering, working to leverage a deeper understanding of light-matter interactions on the nanoscale for application in renewable energy, carbon dioxide reduction, and solar fuel applications. Her technical work has been published in high impact journals and cited >2800 times. 

She is also the Convenor of the Hydrogen Fuels project for ZCEAP – ANU’s Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific, Grand Challenge, working with a transdisciplinary team from across ANU to help transform Australia into a leading exporter of renewable fuels in our region. In this role she has contributed significantly to the national conversation on new, zero-carbon industries and exports for Australia, through outreach, academic publications, submissions to government, and contributions in National and International media. 

Dr Beck has a background in applied physics (MSci 2006, University of Glasgow) and engineering (PhD 2011, ANU), and has previously held prestigious international fellowships including a Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Commission (IIF, 2012), and a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA, 2018) from the Australian Research Council.  

Professor Nigel Brandon - Chair in Sustainable Development in Energy at Imperial College London, UK

Professor Nigel Brandon OBE FREng FRS holds the Chair in Sustainable Development in Energy at Imperial College London.  His research interests are focused on electrochemical technologies for the low carbon transition, with a particular focus on fuel cells, hydrogen and flow batteries. He is a founder of Ceres Power, a fuel cell and electrolyser company, and RFC Power, a flow battery company. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Royal Society and an International Member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Professor Craig Buckley - John Curtin Distinguished Professor at Curtin University

Professor Craig Buckley is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor, leads the Hydrogen Energy research at Curtin University and is recognised internationally for his work on hydrogen storage materials. Since 1994 he has held various research positions in the UK, USA and Australia prior to being awarded a continuing position at Curtin University. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics and a member of several National and International science and advisory committees including: The Australian Executive Committee member on the International Energy Agency (IEA) Hydrogen Technology Collaboration Program (TCP) and an Australian expert on the IEA Hydrogen TCP Task 40 Hydrogen Energy Storage and Conversion. Professor Buckley leads Program 2: Hydrogen Exports and Value Chains in the Future Energy Exports (FEnEx) CRC. Throughout his career he has been a lead/co-investigator on over $100 M of research funding, including being the lead investigator on several Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery, Linkage, Large Equipment and Industry grants. Professor Buckley has published over 230 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals, which have attracted over 7700 citations.

Dr Nabiha Chaumeix - Director of R&D at CNRS, France

Dr. Nabiha CHAUMEIX, the head of the “Shock Wave” group at ICARE, a full-body CNRS laboratory, has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (University of Orléans, 1993). She was president of the Institute of Dynamics of Explosions and Reactive Systems (IDERS, 2017-2022) and is actually deputy director of the French Research Network on Soot. Dr Chaumeix has over 25 years of experience in the flame dynamics, explosions safety and combustion chemical kinetics. The research developed by Dr Chaumeix is related to: (i) high temperature chemical kinetics using shock tubes and has devoted more than a decade in the study of soot formation from heavy fuels; (ii) the determination of the combustion fundamental properties such as flammability limits, laminar flame velocities, auto-ignition delay times, detonation characteristics (cell size, detonation speed, etc.) and the development of detailed chemical kinetics applicable to these phenomena; (iii) assessment of Safety explosion criteria with the detailed study of flame acceleration covering both subsonic and supersonic flames. The research is developed in the framework of National projects (ANR- HYDROMEL, MITHYGENE, IRSIS, SYTCOM, PHYSSA, PEPR-H2-ESKHYMO), European projects (SiA-TEAM, ARCHER, AMHYCO, FUN-PM, SASPAM-SA), International projects (EIG CONCERT-JAPAN 2021-STACY) and in several projects with different industries and institutions (TotalEnergies, IRSN, EDF, AREVA, Air Liquide, CNES, CEA, …etc.).

Robert Davis - Senior Engineer in Low Carbon Futures at the Australian Gas Infrastructure Group

Professor Christian Doonan - University of Adelaide

Christian Doonan is Professor of chemistry at the University of Adelaide. He received his PhD at the University of Melbourne and carried out post-doctoral work with Prof.  Omar Yaghi at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research group focuses on the design and synthesis of porous materials for application to biotechnology, gas storage/separation and catalysis. 

Professor Evan Gray - Griffith University
Professor Zhenguo Huang - University of Technology Sydney

Professor Zhenguo Huang is leading the Hydrogen Energy Program at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. He was awarded a Discovery Early Career Research Award and Future Fellowships by the Australian Research Council. He is a Research Advisor appointed by the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan, a recipient of the Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, and a graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors. His research is centered on boron chemistry for energy conversion and storage. Research interests are in the fields of hydrogen storage materials, electrolytes, and two-dimensional boron-containing nanosheets. As a corresponding author, he has published in Energy & Environmental Science, Advanced Materials, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Materials Today, etc.

Dr Robert Judd - Director Hydrogen DNV APAC & Secretary General European Gas Research Group, Singapore

Over a 35-year career Robert has worked on a diverse portfolio of gas and energy projects, with focus on innovation and driving solutions to emerging industry challenges. Robert worked for over 20 years in the technology arm of the UK gas industry and has managed technical teams and projects in the UK, and worldwide, including extensive experience in Asia. As Secretary General of European Gas Research Group since 2012, he manages an Association of 30 major European companies and research organisations, realigning strategic research priorities with Europe’s clean energy agenda while building relationships with stakeholders and policy makers at all levels. This role has led to the successful development of several new European funded collaborative industry projects in biomethane, hydrogen and carbon management. He has led or contributed to the production of research roadmaps for Hydrogen Europe, CEN and GERG.  He is a member of Singapore’s International Advisory Panel on Energy and has chaired the Gas Markets Advisory Panel for Singapore’s regulator. Other experience includes leading parts of the UK government Gas Quality Exercise, managing Downstream Energy teams at Advantica, leading work for the Singapore regulator and transporter on gas regulatory and innovation challenges, and coordinating development of a new sustainability focused innovation portfolio for UK National Grid while seconded to their business.

Dr John V Kennedy - Principal Scientist, GNS Science, New Zealand

Prof John V Kennedy is a Principal Scientist at National Isotope Centre, GNS Science (Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science), New Zealand Crown Research Institute, New Zealand. Dr. Kennedy research focuses on the new materials development for low carbon emission technologies. He uses ion beam technologies pioneered by Lord Rutherford to develop functional materials and to provide key information about the materials structure-property relationship.

His research interests are thin films, metal and metal oxide/nitride nanoparticle growth and their structural, electrical, optical, catalytic, magnetic, thermoelectric, photocatalytic properties and devices for energy conversion and efficiency. He has published more than 250 peer reviewed articles with citations of more than 9000 with  H-index 60 and 20 international patent applications. Dr. Kennedy is a Programme Director, Aotearoa: Green Hydrogen Technology Platform and Adjunct Professor, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  He is a Principal Investigator in the high value manufacturing technology industry focused Product Accelerator and the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (Centre of Research Excellence).

Professor Gus Nathan - Research Director of the Heavy Industry, Low-carbon Transition CRC, the University of Adelaide

Gus Nathan is a Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Adelaide, the inaugural Energy Professional of the Year from the Australian Institute of Energy, SA, a Fellow of the Combustion Institute, a recipient of a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award from the Australian Research Council and an ATSE KH Sutherland medallist. He was the bid leader for, and is now the Research Director of, the national Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre, the HILT CRC. He has led the development of six technology platforms, three of which are in ongoing commercial use and include a low NOx burner in ongoing use in cement, lime, alumina and iron-pellet industries, while three are currently being upscaled to decarbonise heavy industry. He has worked closely with industry throughout his career and is the founding chair of the international High Temperature Minerals Processing (HiTeMP) Forum. He has published some 300 papers in international journals, 250 in peer reviewed conferences, 50 commissioned reports and 13 patents.

Professor Shizhang Qiao - ARC Laureate Fellow at the University of Adelaide

Dr Qiao is a Chair Professor at the School of Chemical Engineering and founding Director of Center for Materials in Energy and Catalysis in the University of Adelaide, Australia. His research expertise is in nanostructured materials for new energy technologies including electrocatalysis, photocatalysis and batteries. He has co-authored more than 490 papers in refereed journals, including Nature, Nature Energy, Nature Materials, Nature Catalysis, Nature Synthesis, Nature Communications, Science Advances, Angew Chem Int Ed, J. Am. Chem. Soc.(over 87,050/100,150 citation times, h-index: 150/161, Web of Science/Google Scholar). He has filed six patents and attracted more than 23.0 million dollars in research grants.

In recognition of his achievements in research, he was honoured with prestigious South Australian Scientist of Year (2021), Inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research (University of Adelaide, 2019), Australian Laureate Fellow (2017), ExxonMobil Award (2016), an ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA, 2013), 2013 Emerging Researcher Award (The American Chemical Society, Division of Energy and Fuels) and UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award (2008). He has also been awarded an inaugural UQ Mid-Career Research Fellowship, a prestigious ARC ARF Fellowship and an ARC APD Fellowship.

Prof Qiao is a Fellow of International Institute of Chemical Engineers (FIChemE), Royal Chemical Society (FRSC) and Royal Australian Chemical Institute (FRACI CChem). He is an Editor in Chief of EES Catalysis (RSC), Associate Editor of Journal of Materials Chemistry A (RSC) and a Clarivate Analytics/Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher (120 current ESI Top 1% highly cited papers) in two categories (Chemistry and Materials Science).

Krishnakumar PG - GE Gas Power

Krishnakumar PG (KK) leads Services Application engineering for GE Gas Power for Asia markets, including China. KK has over 17 years of experience in Gas based power. He started his career in 2004, commissioning and operating Gas Turbines with one of the major energy conglomerates in India, Reliance Industries Ltd. In 2007 he joined GE. KK’s experience in GE, is across the life cycle of a Gas power plant, spanning across technology, markets and working with cross cultural teams. Technical experience includes working in New unit application engineering, Services application Engineering, Condition based maintenance and Product management.
He has as well worked on technologies that deliver cleaner solutions, including integrated emission solutions in coal power plants (with Legacy Alstom Technology now SPS), as well as enabling hydrogen firing in Gas turbines as part of the larger decarbonisation solutions.
KK has experience in working with energy/ power clients and market across Asia Pacific, China and South Asia (Including India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka).
KK is as a patent holder with multiple patents on Gas Turbine prognostics, combustor design issued by US Patent Office (US PTO). On the personal side, he is a published author.

Dr Alexander Simonov - ARC Future Fellow, Monash University

Alexandr N. Simonov is a physical chemist specialising in electrochemistry and electrocatalysis. Research in his group is aimed at understanding and designing new effective ways to generate and use renewable electricity for the sustainable chemistry technologies. His major research focuses on the development of catalysts, electrode architectures and electrolytic devices for generation of hydrogen through splitting of water (including seawater), reduction of nitrogen to ammonia, as well as selective oxidation of ammonia and nitrogen to nitrates for fertiliser generation. He collaborates with Australian and German industry on several projects aiming to develop new cost-effective water electrolysers. He is a co-founder of a spin-out company Jupiter Ionics Pty Ltd. working on the commercialisation of the Monash technologies for ammonia synthesis and oxidation.

Associate Professor Simon Smart - University of Queensland
Professor Roland Span - Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

Roland Span studied mechanical engineering at Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB) from 1983 to 1988. In 1992, he completed his Ph.D. with a thesis introducing a new reference equation of state for carbon dioxide, which is considered the international standard for thermodynamic properties of carbon dioxide. In 1999, he completed his habilitation. At ALSTOM Power Technologies in Switzerland, he worked on gas-turbine related topics. In 2002, he became chair of Thermodynamics and Energy Technologies at University of Paderborn. In 2006, he became chair of Thermodynamics at RUB. Prof. Span published numerous journal articles and monographs, including highly cited scientific papers dealing mostly with experimental and theoretical work on thermodynamic properties and the application of corresponding models to process simulations in energy technologies. Prof. Span and his scientific coworkers received several national and international awards; the most recent ones are the NTNU & SINTEF CCS Award 2019 and an ERC Advanced Grant in 2022. Prof. Span is member of several scientific committees, including editorial boards and advisory boards in energy technology. In the management board of the JP CCS of the European Energy Research Alliance, Prof. Span is coordinating activities on CO2 transport. He is speaker of the interdisciplinary Research Department Closed Carbon Cycle Economy (RD CCCE) at RUB and of the doctoral school DS CCCE. He is member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, curator of the Fraunhofer UMSICHT institute, and chair of the International Advisory Board of the Institute of Thermomechanics of the Czech Academy of Science.

Professor Hongqi Sun - Edith Cowan University

Professor Hongqi Sun is the Professor of Chemical Engineering, and Chair of ECU’s Research Professoriate, in School of Science, Edith Cowan University. He is a Highly Cited Researcher (Web of Science, since 2019), and one of Top 40 Australian Research Superstars (The Australian’s Research Magazine, 2020). He joined ECU in March 2016 as an Associate Professor through the global campaign of Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Research Fellowship. Prior to that he had worked at Curtin University for over seven years. He became a Full Professor at ECU in November 2017. His research focuses on novel catalysis (photocatalysis, photo-thermal catalysis, photo-electro-chemical catalysis, and membrane catalysis) over nanostructured materials for solar-to-hydrogen conversion and environmental remediation. To date, he has published over 270 refereed journal papers and received over 28,000 citations and achieved a h-index of 97. He serves as a member of ARC College of Experts (since 2022), a delegate of Australia-US Hydrogen Research Partnership 2022, Associate Editor of RSC Advances (since 2015), and Specialty Chief Editor of Frontiers in Nanotechnology (since 2019).

Professor Gerry Sweigers - The University of Wollongong

Gerhard (Gerry) F. Swiegers is a Professor at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He leads an active research program focusing on electrochemical catalysis and the production of hydrogen from water using renewable electricity. He also works in the fields of electrocatalytic process engineering and industrial electrochemistry. He has founded 7 spin-off companies and commercially licensed 3 new technologies in the last 20 years. His inventions have found use in the pharmaceutical, apparel, casino chip, agricultural, automobile, energy and other industries. Most recently he co-developed a new class of electrochemical cell for water electrolysis, termed a ‘capillary-fed’ cell, with PhD students Aaron Hodges and Anh Linh Hoang. This technology forms the basis of the new company Hysata Pty Ltd. Gerry is concurrently the Chief Technical Officer of Hysata. Hysata is supported by investments from several venture capital firms.

Dr Dietmar Tourbier - CSIRO

Dr. Dietmar Tourbier is the acting Director for the Energy business unit at CSIRO. Prior to this role Dietmar served as the Deputy Director and Science Director for the Energy business unit and the Director of the Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI).

 Prior to joining CSIRO, Dietmar worked at General Electric (GE) for over 20 years and held various leading positions in corporate research including the leadership roles of GE’s solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) division in California, the global power electronics technology research group and GE’s European research division.

 Dietmar received his “Diplom Ingenieur” degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Stuttgart and his PhD in aerospace engineering from the University of Arizona. He also received his MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Professor Lianzhou Wang - ARC Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland

Lianzhou Wang is Professor and ARC Australian Laureate Fellow in School of Chemical Engineering, Director of Nanomaterials Centre, and Senior Group Leader of Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the University of Queensland. His research focuses on the design and application of functional semiconductor nanomaterials for renewable energy conversion/storage applications including new photocatalytsts for solar hydrogen production, low-cost solar cells and rechargeable batteries. He has contributed to > 500 journal publications, receiving the citations of >41,000 times with a H-index of 112. He also won some prestigious Fellowships/awards including Australian Research Council (ARC) QEII Fellowship, Future Fellowship and Laureate Fellowship, UQ Research Excellence Award and Research Supervision Award, Scopus Young Researcher Award, and Research Excellence Award in Chemical Engineering. He is the fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry and Academia Europaea, and is named on the list of the Clarivate’ Highly Cited Researchers.

Dr Brendon Wood - Director, Laboratory for Energy Applications for the Future, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA

Dr. Brandon Wood is Associate Program Lead for Hydrogen and Director of the Laboratory for Energy Applications for the Future (LEAF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His primary research interests lie in the application of high-performance computing and multiscale simulation techniques to materials for energy storage, conversion, and delivery. He currently leads crosscutting modeling and simulation activities across multiple U.S. Department of Energy multi-lab consortia focused on technology challenges for hydrogen energy, including HyMARC (materials-based hydrogen storage and hydrogen carriers), HydroGEN (materials for renewable hydrogen production), and H2NEW (degradation challenges in next-generation electrolyzers).

Professor Chuan Zhao - University of New South Wales

Professor Chuan Zhao is the Head of Nanoelectrochemistry Lab in the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and a Professorial Future Fellow of Australian Research Council. He leads the Hydrogen Production Theme in ARC Training Centre for the Global Hydrogen Economy, and chairs the Electrochemistry Division Royal Australian Chemical Institute. Prof Zhao is one of the pioneers in developing non-precious-metal and low-precious-metal-based electrocatalysts for green hydrogen production and have led significant commercialisation projects on water electrolysers and fuel cells. He has published more than 300 high impact research papers and held >12 patents of which 8 have been commercialised. Prof Zhao is elected Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow of RACI, Fellow of Royal Society of New South Wales.

We have many more speakers to add, with a program coming soon!