UQ medallist announced as 2020 Queensland Rhodes Scholar

Brisbane engineer Nicholas Salmon is Queensland’s newest Rhodes Scholar, and will spend next year at Oxford University investigating the most effective ways to produce ‘green’ ammonia for fertiliser or energy.

Mr Salmon graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering with First Class Honours (Chemical Engineering) from The University of Queensland and won the University Medal in 2017.

He is employed as a process engineer in the Bauxite and Alumina Global Centre of Excellence of engineering, technical and professional services firm Worley.

“As an engineer, I contribute to my team by finding technical solutions that reduce our clients’ water, energy and resource consumption in economically feasible ways,” Mr Salmon said.

“The biggest threat to our community is climate change. It threatens our environment and economy, and in so doing threatens our very way of life.

“We need engineering solutions that allow us to continue to grow sustainably and prosper while reducing emissions and resolving economic concerns with transition to green energy.”

Mr Salmon will undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) Engineering Science at Oxford.

“Oxford University is currently pursuing research in using renewable energy to generate green hydrogen and subsequently, green ammonia using the Haber Bosch process,” he said.

“I propose to investigate the geographical gap between renewable energy sources and downstream users of ammonia, a common fertiliser.

“Australia is rich in renewable energy while other major energy consumers, such as India, Japan, and Korea, have far less capacity to generate plentiful renewable energy.

“My research would identify the most effective ways to bring together disparate renewable energy sources to produce green ammonia for use in fertiliser or as an energy source.”

While at UQ, Mr Salmon shared his knowledge by tutoring fellow engineering students in thermodynamics and reactions engineering.

A keen debater, he is a three-time finalist in the World Universities Debating Championships.

He also created and taught a debating module for Masters engineering students and gave many hours of his time as the Queensland Schools Debating Team coach with his team becoming national champions in 2016.

He is also a violinist with the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra and played in a university orchestra.

Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey announced Mr Salmon’s Rhodes Scholarship at Government House today.

Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards, started in 1903 under the will of the late Cecil John Rhodes, for outstanding all-round students to study at Oxford.

The qualities Cecil Rhodes set out for those seeking Rhodes Scholarships include: academic and intellectual excellence, integrity of character, respect for fellow beings and a capacity for leadership.


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