Professor George Zhao

ARC Australian Laureate Fellow

School of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
+61 7 334 69997


George Zhao is a Professor and ARC Australian Laureate Fellow of the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Queensland. He held a couple of other fellowships, scuh as ARC Future Fellow (2011–2014) and UQ Vice-Chancellor’s Research and Teaching Fellow (2014-2017). Prof Zhao’s research focuses on nanoporous materials for sustainable energy storage and conversion, as well as for environmentally friendly chemical processes and products. The overall objective of his research program is to develop tailor-designed advanced porous materials with desired structural, interfacial and morphological properties for applicaitons in the fields ranging from energy storage and conversion, heterogeneous catalysis, adsorption, water and air purification, seawater desalination, to photonics. Prof Zhao has collected a number of prizes and awards, such as the 2nd prize of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, global highly cited researcher, American Carbon Society Award, and Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC).

Research Program:

Prof Zhao's current research projects include (1) towards sustainable electrochemical energy storage technology (biomass-derived electrode materials for sodium-ion batteries and hybrid ion capacitors), (2) investigation of sodium ion interactions with biomass-derived hard carbon (in collaboration with Dr Ruth Knibbe and DR Tim Duignan), (3) anti-corresive protection of zinc-lated steels (in collaboration with Baosteel), (4) electrode materials for flexible energy storage devices (in collaboration with Qingdao University, China), (5) mesoporous zeolite catalysts for hydrocarbon oxidation (in collaboration with Qingdao University, China), (6) photocatalytic and electrocatalytic conversion of carbon dioxide to fuels (in collaboration with IIT-Delhi), and (7) catalytic conversion of methane (in collaboration with IIT-Delhi). While materials have been of the main research focus, computational work has also been being carried out to help understand experimental observations and phenomena.

Teaching and Learning:

Prof Zhao has taught the following courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels: Colloids and Surfaces, Chemical Reaction Engineering, Applied Heterogeneous Catalysis, Materials Science and Engineering, and Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.

Research Interests

  • Nanoporous materials and applications
    Porous materials such as zeolites and activated carbon have been used in many technological fields, such as petroleum refining, gas separation and purification, wastewater treatment, and so on. Emerging applications require a high level of control over porous materials with well-defined physical and chemical properties. Our research interests focus on design and preparatino of nanoporous materials for electrochemical energy storage (batteries and supercapacitors), water purification, electrocapacitive desalination, natural gas conversion, and photonics. Currently we work on porous carbon-based materials as supercapacitor and Li-ion battery electrodes, graphene and titanium dioxide materials for water disinfection and detoxification, self-assembly of microspheres for fabricating 3D colloidal photonic crystals, hierarchical zeolite materials as heterogeneous catalysts, and immobilization of enzymes on porous solids. The overall objective of his research program is to develop tailor-designed novel porous materials with prescribed structural, interfacial, and morphological properties for emerging applications. While new materials have been of our main research them, computational work has also been carried out in our lab to simulate and model important physical phenomena that would not be easy to observe experimentally or those cannot be completely understood experimentally.

Research Impacts

Prof Zhao is an international renowned materials chemist conducting multidisciplinary research. He has made significant contributions to his research field, which bridges the disciplines of materials science, chemistry, chemical engineering and physics. His research has defined and advanced the field through highly cited publications and public lectures. He has an outstanding international reputation for his investigations into the chemistry of mesoporous materials for adsorptive and catalytic applications and porous carbon materials for energy storage. He is also internationally known for his achievements on fundamental understanding of self-assembly of colloidal microspheres and developing new methods for the fabrication of three-dimensional colloidal photonic crystals and functional devices.


  • Bachelor of Science, Shangdong University
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland


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Book Chapter

  • Gaddam, Rohit Ranganathan, Kumar, Nanjundan Ashok, Narayan, Ramanuj, Raju, K.V.S.N. and Zhao, X.S. (2019). Advanced carbon materials for electrochemical energy storage. Nanomaterials synthesis: design, fabrication and applications. (pp. 385-418) edited by Yasir Beeran Pottathara, Sabu Thomas, Nandakumar Kalarikkal, Yves Grohens and Vanja Kokol. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-815751-0.00011-0

  • Zhang, Luhong, Xiong, Zhigang and Zhao, George (2016). Hierarchical nanoheterostructures: layered double hydroxide-based photocatalysts. Green photo-active nanomaterials : sustainable energy and environmental remediation. (pp. 309-338) edited by Nurxat Nuraje, Ramazan Asmatulu and Guido Mul. London, United Kingdom: Royal Society of Chemistry. doi: 10.1039/9781782622642-00309

  • Zhang, J. and Zhao, X. S. (2014). Graphene-based materials for electrochemical energy storage. Two-dimensional carbon: fundamental properties, synthesis, characterisation and applications. (pp. 183-246) edited by Wu Yihong, Shen Zexiang and Yu Ting. Boca Raton, FL, United States: Pan Stanford Publishing.

  • Yan, Qingfeng, Yu, Jie, Cai, Zhongyu and Zhao, X. S. (2012). Colloidal photonic crystals: fabrication and applications. Hierarchically structured porous materials: from nanoscience to catalysis, biomedicine, optics and energy. (pp. 531-576) edited by Bao-Lian Su, Clément Sanchez and Xiao-Yu Yang. Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH. doi: 10.1002/9783527639588.ch18

  • Zhang, Li Li, Lei, Zhibin, Zhang, Jintao, Tian, Xiaoning and Zhao, Xiu Song (2011). Supercapacitors: electrode materials aspects. Encyclopedia of inorganic chemistry. (pp. 341-363) United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/0470862106.ia816

  • Yu, Jianqiang, Zhang, Yan, Yu, Deshuang, Zhou, Xiaochen and Zhao, X. S. (2010). Photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical properties of visible-light driven aurivillius structured materials. Handbook of photocatalysts: Preparation, structure and applications. (pp. 385-408) edited by Geri K Castello. New York United States: Nova Science Publishers.

  • Zhou, Jinkai and Zhao, X. S. (2010). Visible-light-responsive titanium dioxide photocatalysts. Environmentally benign photocatalysts: Applications of titanium oxide-based materials. (pp. 235-251) edited by Masakazu Anpo and Prashant V Kamat. New York United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-48444-0_10

  • Su, Fabing, Zhou, Zuocheng, Guo, Wanping, Liu, Jiajia, Tian, Xiao Ning and Zhao, X.S. (2008). Template approaches to the synthesis of porous carbon. Chemistry and Physics of Carbon. (pp. 63-128) edited by Ljubisa R. Radovic. U. S. A.: CRC Press.

  • Zhou, Z. C. and Zhao, X. S. (2004). 3D macroporous photonic materials templated by self assembled colloidal spheres. Nanoporous Materials: Science and Engineering. (pp. 206-236) edited by G. Q. Lu and X. S. Zhao. Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom: Imperial College Press.

  • Zheng, J., Song, C., Xu, X., Turaga, U. T. and Zhao, X. S. (2004). Acidity measurement of nanoporous aluminosilicates: zeolites and MCM-41. Nanoporous Materials: Science and Engineering. (pp. 464-486) edited by G. Q. Lu and X. S. Zhao. Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom: Imperial College Press.

  • Lu, G. Q. and Zhao, X. S. (2004). Nanoporous materials: an overview. Nanoporous Materials: Science and Engineering. (pp. 1-13) edited by G. Q. Lu and X. S. Zhao. Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom: Imperial College Press.

  • Zhao, X. S., Chong, A. S. Maria and Lu, M. G. (2004). Surface Functionalization of Ordered Nanoporous Silicates. Nanoporous Materials Science and Engineering. (pp. 393-426) edited by G Q Lu and X S Zhao. United Kingdom: Imperial College Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision