Green Hydrogen with Carbon Electrodes

Green Hydrogen with Carbon Electrodes

Carbon – either as glassy carbon or graphene – is widely used as an electrode material. However, it is notoriously poor for hydrogen production. Much research effort worldwide has focused on finding non-precious metal materials that are active for hydrogen production and could be deposited as an active layer onto a carbon electrode, including various strategies for chemically modifying the carbon itself. Taking an alternative approach, which started from a discovery driven by fundamental simulations, the Integrated Materials Design Laboratory has been working on a method for activating the carbon electrode itself for hydrogen evolution, potentially offering ultimate scalability for large volume production. This seminar will summarize computational and experimental work to date on this technology and sketch some of the challenges involved to take it to the next level.


Prof Sean Smith


Sean Smith is Director of the Australian National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) and conjointly Professor of computational nanomaterials science and technology at the Australian National University. He has extensive theoretical and computational research experience in chemistry, nanomaterials and nano-bio science and technology. He returned to Australia in 2014 at UNSW Sydney, founding and directing the Integrated Materials Design Centre to drive an integrated program of materials design, discovery and characterization. Prior to this, he directed the US Department of Energy funded Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of five major DOE nanoscience research and user facilities in the US, through its 2011-2013 triennial phase. During his earlier career, he joined The University of Queensland as junior faculty in 1993 after post-doctoral research at UC Berkeley (1991-1993) and Universität Göttingen (Humboldt Fellow 1989-1991); became Professor and Director of the Centre for Computational Molecular Science 2002-2011; and built up the computational nanobio science and technology laboratory the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) at UQ 2006-2011. He worked with colleagues in the ARC Center of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials 2002-2011 as Program Leader (Computational Nanoscience) and Deputy Director (Internationalisation).

Sean has published over 260 refereed journal papers with more than 17000 citations. In 1998 he was elected Fellow of the RACI. In 2006 he was recipient of a Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. In 2012 he was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and in 2015 he was elected Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE). He received his PhD in theoretical chemistry from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in 1989.



Date & time

2–3pm 23 Jul 2019


Room:R221, Graduate Teaching Room


Professor Sean Smith



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