Jim Edwards – Driving energy research for over 48 years

October 12th, 2020

Jim joined CSIRO Division of Fossil Fuels/Process Technology after working as a senior process engineer for Altona Petrochemical in 1972. He initially worked on projects developing processes for the production of anode carbon from natural gas, and subsequently played a major role in the development of the flash pyrolysis process for the production of synthetic crude oil from coal. By 1992 he was a Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO Division of Coal & Energy Technology still heavily involved in carbon chemistry and developing new natural gas conversion technology for the production of synthetic liquid fuels. In 1995 he was appointed Group Manager – Renewable Energy & Energy Storage Technologies, where he was a key driver in the transition of the Division from carbon-based science to a broader energy focus that included renewables. In 1999 Jim co-led the Division’s initial foray into solar thermal research, combining his expertise in carbon chemistry with the promise of solar thermal energy to develop a solar steam reforming process for renewable hydrogen production, foundations for the high temperature solar thermal technology that continues to this day as world class expertise within the Energy BU.

Jim retired from CSIRO in 2001 after 29 years of service, but was enticed to return in 2004 on a part-time basis in various capacities highlighted by work in solar thermal energy storage and the solar fuels roadmap. Jim was currently a CSIRO Fellow and was a mentor to many, an extremely willing reviewer/contributor to publications and sounding board for new ideas. If given the opportunity he could also give extremely detailed accounts of his ridiculously successful fishing trips and I’m sure flathead stocks in the Hawkesbury basin will now be available for others to catch now without Jim on the hunt.

Jim was a passionate contributor to CSIRO over 48 years and he will be sorely missed, our thoughts are with his wife Cathy and family.

Oct 2020

Robbie McNaughton
Team Leader – Solar Thermal Processes