Professor Maria SKYLLAS-KAZACOS (AM)

 Maria Skyllas-Kazacos 

Academic Qualifications

1974  BSc (Hons 1) Industrial Chemistry, The University of New South Wales
1974  University Medal
1978  PhD, School of Chemical Technology, The University of New South Wales
Professional Affiliations

Fellow, Institution of Engineers, Australia

Fellow, Royal Australian Chemical Institute

Member, Electrochemical Society of USA

Chartered Professional Engineer (1992-2011)


Awards and Medals

University Medal, 1974

Whiffen Medal, Institution of Chemical Engineers Australia, 1997

CHEMECA Medal, Institution of Chemical Engineers Australia, 1998

Member of the Order of Australia, Australia Day Honours List 1999.

R.K. Murphy Medal, Royal Australian Chemical Institute, 2000

Invested as Grand Lady of the Byzantine Order of St Eugene of Trebizond (Australia Day, 2009)

Recipient Distinguished Lecturer Award, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Richland, UNSW, 2009.

Co-Recipient,2009 Light Metals Division Journal of Metals Best Paper Award

Castner Medal, Society for the Chemical Industry, UK, 2011



2007- present Emeritus Professor, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, UNSW
2005-2010 Honorary Technical advisor, V-Fuel Pty Ltd
2004-present Honorary Technical advisor, Magnam Technologies Pty Ltd
1993- 2007  Professor, School of Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry, UNSW
2000-2006 Director, Centre for Electrochemical and Minerals Processing, UNSW
1987-1993 Associate Professor, School of Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry, UNSW
1982-1987 Lecturer to Senior Lecturer, School of Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry, UNSW
1980-1981 Queen Elizabeth II Postdoctoral Research Fellow in School of Physics, UNSW
1978-1979 CSIRO Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, USA 
1974 Production Manager, E.R. Squibb and Sons Pharmaceuticals, Athens 


More than 250 publications and patents have been published in the following areas:
Vanadium Battery Research

Pioneering work on the Vanadium Redox Battery has included basic research, through to development of all aspects (including electrolyte production, novel conducting plastic electrodes, new modified membranes, mathematical modelling and design) of battery technology and components, to prototype testing and manufacturing trials in conjunction with industrial licensees. The Vanadium Battery is now regarded internationally as one of the most feasible technologies currently available to meet the growing need for efficient renewable energy storage to help in the global reduction of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. To date more than 20 medium to large-scale VRB systems have been installed by Sumitomo Electric Industries in Japan, USA, Europe and Australia for the storage of wind and solar energy and for load leveling at power stations and back-up power. The largest of these is a 4 MW/6 MWh VRB integrated to a wind-farm on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Several companies are now manufacturing or are in the process of setting up production of the VRB in China and Europe, while a grant from the US Department of Energy was awarded for the installation of a 6 MWh VRB installation at the Painesville Municipal Power Plant in Ohio using the UNSW technology.


In 2001, the new Generation 2 Vanadium Bromide Redox Cell was patented by the University of NSW and funding was received from the Victorian government funded Centre for Energy and Greenhouse Technologies and from the Australian government’s Renewable Energy Development Initiative fund to further develop the technology as a high energy density flow battery for both stationary and mobile applications. Collaborative research in this area is currently being undertaken with Nanyang Technical University  in Singapore.


Lithium Batteries and Fuel Cells

In 2001, new research activities in lithium ion batteries and biofuel cells were initiated at UNSW and in collaboration with ANSTO, a range of novel lithium battery electrode materials have been evaluated for improved intercalation ratios and reversibility. Work is also being undertaken on the development of improved catalysts for methanol oxidation and membrane modification for direct methanol fuel cell applications

Aluminium Electrowinning, Mineral Extraction and Molten Salts

This work has been funded by grants from Comalco, the ARC and more recently the CSIRO Light Metals Flagship. Studies include aluminium electrowinning in cryolite and alternative electrolytes, inert anodes and inert cathodes for aluminium electrolysis. Investigations of greenhouse gas reduction methods for aluminium smelting process have recently shown that certain additives in the anode can change its wettability and thereby reduce the onset of the anode effect that leads to the generation of carbon fluoride greenhouse gases. Other projects have included:

·        Electrochemical studies of aluminium deposition and dissolution at graphite, tungsten, titanium diboride and TiB2/C composite and granulometry on anode overvoltage in aluminium smelting process. 

·        Determination of bath resistivities, bubble layer resistivities and gaseous volume fraction in aluminium electrolysis cells with sloping anodes and cathode. 

·        Electrochemical studies of dissolved aluminium in molten Al2O3 / cryolite. 

·        Electrochemical studies of wettability of sintered TiB2 and TiB2/C composite electrodes in molten Al2O3/cryolite.  Effect of TiO2 and B2O3 additions on the aluminium deposition reaction at graphite electrodes in molten Al2O3/cryolite.

·        Preparation and evaluation of inert anodes based on cermet composite materials to eliminate the generation of carbon dioxide

·        Wear resistant cathodes for alumimium electrowinning

·        Advanced Control and process modelling for the aluminium reduction cell.

Electrochemical Engineering and Electrochemical Cell Design

·        Modelling and simulation of electrochemical reactors

·        Bipolar cell design and evaluation

·        Industrial prototype design, testing and optimisation

·        Precipitation mechanisms and kinetics; effects of additives and impurities on precipitation processes and crystal morphology.


Postgraduate Students Supervised

Supervised 25 PhD and Masters thesis students to completion.

Currently supervising 7 PhD students, 3 Honours thesis students and 2 research fellows and 2 research assistants.



Over 130 papers in international refereed journal, 2 Book Chapters, more than 35 patents or patent applications, 75 full conference papers, and 17 major reports. Also edited and published 9 Conference Proceedings and jointly produced 2 CDRoms of Conference papers.


Grant Funding

More than $7 million in grant funding from government and industry since 1985, including ARC Discovery, ARC Linkage, NSW Department of Energy, ERDC, NERDDC, Comalco, CSIRO, Pasminco, Agnew Clough, Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., ANSTO, the Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI) fund and the CSIRO Light Metals Flagship. Joint applicant for more than $4 million in collaborative research and development funding from the US Department of Energy and CERP fund Singapore.