Professor Maschmeyer talks about his research and contribution.
[Music plays and image shows the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation medallion, and text beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer]
[Image changes to show a rear view of Professor Thomas Maschmeyer walking towards the university buildings]
Professor Thomas Maschmeyer: My name is Thomas Maschmeyer.
[Image changes to show a rear view of Thomas walking towards the entrance to the School of Chemistry]
I am Professor of Chemistry at The University of Sydney, and also Executive Chairman of Gelion Technologies.
[Image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera and then images move through to show aerial views looking down on a worksite showing tanks and pipes and then looking up at tall pipe structures]
In my area of research, my expertise is catalysis; that is to make chemical reactions go faster as well as being more selective.
[Images move through to show a bundle of plastic waste, plastic waste moving along a rotating tunnel, plastic waste pulp, black liquid pouring from a tap, and plastic bottles moving along a conveyer]
Through my work I’ve been able to help create a world beating technology that is able to refine plastic waste back into useable materials for the circular economy.
[Images move through of a front end loader shifting piles of plastic, a close view of the piles of plastic, and then plastic pieces floating in the ocean]
This helps to address a really pressing problem, that of plastic pollution in our environment, especially in the oceans.
[Image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera]
The yield of our product is about 30 to 40 per cent higher than of comparable technologies in the market.
[Images move through of a people looking at and discussing a Gelion battery, a row of the Gelion batteries powering a piece of equipment, and then a close view of the Gelion badge]
Another important piece of technology that I’ve been able to create is a energy storage technology based on zinc bromide.
[Images move through of two people talking and looking at a small round disc, and then the image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera again]
Our battery technology is really well suited for Australian conditions. It is able to run at high temperatures in a largely unmanaged system off-grid.
[Images move through of a close view of a blow torch directing a flame towards a small piece of gel held in tweezers, and then the image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera]
This is a solution particularly relevant to off-grid challenges, be they in agriculture, mining, or remote communities.
[Images move through to show tweezers picking up small pieces of gel from a petri dish, researchers talking, Thomas talking to the camera, and tweezers picking up a gel membrane from a petri dish]
Due to the efficient gel design, our battery is inherently safe and has lower operating costs than its competitors.
[Images move through of a researcher placing equipment on a bench, Thomas talking, coloured liquid in a test tube, Thomas talking to researchers, and Thomas looking at a whiteboard with researchers]
These two technologies have led to the creation of two companies, Licella and Gelion, who together have attracted more than $120 million of investment, and have led to more than 70 jobs being created in Australia.
[Images move through of Thomas walking through a laboratory, Thomas talking to the camera, and Thomas walking along the university verandah towards the camera]
What I love about science and research, especially as a chemist, creating a new molecule is exhilarating, but then creating a new process that goes global is breathtaking.
[Image changes to show a close view of Thomas writing on a whiteboard]
It is wonderful to have been recognised by the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation.
[Image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera and then the image changes to show Thomas walking along an outdoor paved courtyard area]
I think it really sends a message that innovation in Australia is having an impact on a global level.
[Image changes to show Thomas talking to the camera again]
On a more personal level, it is of course wonderful as an immigrant, to be recognised in this manner by my adopted country.
[Music plays and the image changes to show the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the words ‘Australian Government’, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation medallion, and text appears beneath: 2020 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer]