MEInetwork22 Seminar #6: Blue hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas

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This seminar was the sixth instalment in the MEInetwork22 Seminar Series. With a focus on Blue hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas, the seminar presented a summary of the main production processes for blue hydrogen, including Steam Methane Reforming, Autothermal Reforming, Gasification, and Pyrolysis and their comparative technoeconomic metrics in an Australian context. It was presented by Associate Professor Simon Smart from the University of Queensland, who is a Project Director for the Net Zero Australia study. Discussion was moderated by Professor Richard Sandberg, Program Leader for Power Generation and Transport at the Melbourne Energy Institute.

The seminar was hosted online via Zoom.

Date: Tuesday 18 October 2022
Time: 3:00 - 4:30 pm AEDT





To transform our energy system, we first need to understand how it works. The MEInetwork Seminar Series aims to give participants a sound understanding of the current technical and economic factors that underpin the Australian energy system. Knowledge of these market factors is critical in determining the changes required to move towards a clean energy system.

Each year, the Seminar Series takes a deep dive into the complete supply and value chain of one of our primary energy vectors. In 2022, the MEInetwork22 Seminar Series will be comprised of seven seminars covering the gas supply chain, including discussion of the prospects of hydrogen displacing natural gas.

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Associate Professor Simon Smart
School of Chemical Engineering
University of Queensland

Simon Smart is Deputy Director of the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation and an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland. He is also a Project Director for the Net Zero Australia study in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, Princeton University and management consultancy Nous Group.His research is centred around the sustainable production and use of energy and chemicals – including the development of enabling technologies and processes for the production of clean energy, materials and water.

Simon’s technical research involves the design and development of inorganic membranes and hybrid nanocomposite materials for gas and water separation; as well as the use of molten metals and molten salts as liquid catalysts for clean hydrogen production through methane pyrolysis and CO2 utilisation to produce syngas through dry reforming. He has been involved in the Rapid Switch initiative, in relation to pathways to decarbonisation of the global economy, since its inception at the UQ Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation.


Professor Richard Sandberg
Program Leader, Power Generation and Transport
Melbourne Energy Institute 

Richard Sandberg is Chair of Computational Mechanics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His main interest is in high-fidelity simulation of turbulent flows and the associated noise generation in order to gain physical understanding of flow and noise mechanisms and to help assess and improve low-order models that can be employed in an industrial context.

He has been awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT190100072) for 2020-2024 to continue developing his simulation and machine-learning capabilities to better understand and model turbulent flows and flow-generated noise.

Prior to joining the University of Melbourne, he was a Professor of Fluid Dynamics and Aeroacoustics in the Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics research group at the University of Southampton and headed the UK Turbulence Consortium (, coordinating the work packages for compressible flows and flow visualisations and databases.

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