A Sustainable Future with Professor Thomas Maschmeyer

Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. Currently scientists and companies everywhere are racing to develop cost-effective alternative energy solutions that will reduce CO2 emissions. In Australia, that charge is being led by innovators like 2018 Eureka Prize Winner, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer at University of Sydney.

“In the academic groups I lead, we generate fundamental knowledge with a strong focus on technology translation to help address the duel challenges of climate change and limited global resources. In the two start-ups I co-founded, we are using renewables and recycled inputs. Licella’s Cat-HTR technology can fully recycle plastic, closing the loop and avoiding waste, and Gelion’s ENDURE battery systems enable continuous renewable power anywhere,” says Professor Maschmeyer.

Gelion, a University of Sydney spin-off company, announced this past February, that it has developed a unique zinc bromide battery platform technology that is safe, affordable and can be fully recycled. It is ideally suited to energy shifting and daily use, especially in combination with solar PV. This discovery, alongside the recycled plastic technology, propelled Professor Maschmeyer to raise over $21 million in start-up capital in 2016. As activities are going global, new investment rounds are now open until late April 2019.

Professor Maschmeyer’s interest in sustainable solutions has been with him nearly his entire life. When he was very young, he would look at rubbish and see possibilities that others might not have. “I said to my grandmother, we can build houses out of rubbish, and she said that that would never happen. Of course, recycled materials are being used everywhere now, whether in Shanty Towns in South Africa or one’s local building materials centre in Sydney”.

“It was very early on that I realised that we only have one world. One world but an ever-expanding population. Throughout my childhood, people were talking about basic material supply restraints on things such as soil, clean water and resources within the ocean. So, I thought, if I want to make a difference and if I could help address some of those issues, then I should,” explained Professor Maschmeyer in a recent interview with The Warren Centre.

Through his extensive career as a chemistry researcher, Professor Maschmeyer has launched six companies in the eco space. He thrives on assembling talented young professionals, finding scientific success and translating that into innovative companies. Furthermore, his passion for sustainable and ethical solutions brought him to the top of his game.


This story is featured in the 15 March 2019 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.