Andrew T. HARRIS

    Engineer, aspiring polymath, entrepreneur, academic & company director

  • 01 / Biography

    I'm a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Sydney and a deep tech entrepreneur with a focus on sustainability. Formerly I was a senior executive at Laing O'Rourke and head of their future engineering and innovation consultancy, the Engineering Excellence Group.


    I received my PhD from the University of Cambridge (2002), and first class honours in engineering and a bachelors in science from the University of Queensland (1996 and 1994). I'm a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and Engineers Australia (IEAust) and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


    Throughout my career I've worked at the interface between industry and academia. I'm an expert in disruptive innovation, with deep expertise of digital technologies, IoT, advanced materials & nanotechnology, robotics, automation, AI, big data, the future of work, biomimetics, sustainability, green engineering, smart cities and technology incubation and acceleration.


    The Australian Financial Review recently described my Laing O'Rourke lab as "Resembling something like the futuristic lab of James Bond's eccentric Q character, ... it is a playroom of robotic arms, 3D printers, cyborg-like exoskeletons and digital screens."

    I have experience as a listed (Hazer Group, ASX:HZR) and private company (Sicona, Novalith Technologies, Phantm) non-executive director, and served on the advisory board of the Australian Research Council Centre for Robotic Vision and Agrifutures Australia.


    This site showcases some examples of my work.





    02 / Additive manufacturing

    Conception, design & delivery of the World's largest 3D printer (FreeFAB(TM) by Laing O'Rourke). Image shows a cast aluminium freeform panel made from a 3D printed mould using the patented FreeFAB Wax(TM) technology (with UAP Company). Conceived and incubated at Laing O'Rourke's innovation lab





    03 / Biomimetic engineering

    Research at the University of Sydney on nature inspired engineering. Image shows a proton induced X-ray emission (PIXE) spectroscopic map measuring enhanced gold (Au) uptake in plants as part of a study on phytomining of metals


    Bali, R., Siegele, R., and Harris, A.T., (2010) "Phytoextraction of Au: Enhanced uptake, accumulation and cellular distribution by Medicago sativa and Brassica juncea", Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol. 156, pp 286-297.





    04 / Digital engineering

    Conception, design and delivery of a suite of novel digital engineering and construction tools, including advanced AR and VR platforms, reality capture and digital analysis. Image shows a simulated 3D rendering of a complex reinforcement cage for value engineering and constructibility assessment.

    Conceived and incubated at Laing O'Rourke's innovation lab





    05/ Biological templates

    Reversed engineered skeletons, wings and membranes for carbon capture, clean energy & water applications. Image shows a selection of reversed engineered SiC infused biological templates including butterfly wings, echinodermata (sea urchin) skeletons and biological membranes (University of Sydney)


    Church, T.L. Fellini, S., Zhou, M., and Harris, A.T., (2012) "Novel biomorphic SiC/Ni catalyst materials with enhanced activity for cellulose conversion to hydrogen", Catalysis Today. Vol. 190 (1), pp 98-106.





    06 / Atmospheric water capture

    Reverse engineering of natural substrates to extract water from air (University of Sydney)


    Thickett, S, Neto, C. and Harris, A.T., (2011) "Biomimetic surface coatings for atmospheric water capture prepared by dewetting of polymer films" Advanced Materials. Vol. 23, pp 3718-3722.





    07 / Nanotechnology

    Research into the applications of nanotechnology for energy, water and environmental applications. Image shows a render of a single walled carbon nanotube used for catalysis (University of Sydney)


    Variava, M.F., Church, T.L., Noorbehesht, N., Harris, A.T., Minett, A.I., Carbon- supported gas-cleaning catalysts enable syn gas methanation at atmospheric pressure (2015) Catalysis Science and Technology, 5 (1), pp. 515-524.





    08 / SunSHIFT

    SunSHIFT is the world's first pre-fabricated, modular and movable solar power plant for large-scale, on-grid and off-grid electricity generation. Pre-engineered. Scalable. Moveable. Pre-fabricated. Plug-and-play.

    Conceived and incubated at Laing O'Rourke's innovation lab


    Rayward-Smith, W., Cowper, L., Ward, P., Harris, A.T. & Read, M., (2016), “Modular, Relocatable Solar Farms: Demonstrating a New Asset Type to Increase Residual Value and Enable a New Wave of Solar Users”, IET Energy and Technology Reference, 8 pp.





    09 / Data & analytics

    Advanced analytics platforms for Laing O'Rourke. Image shows a social network map of organisational engagement and connectivity as a function of profitability





    10 / Hydrogen energy & carbon capture

    Research into large scale techniques to capture carbon and generate hydrogen from renewable feedstocks (University of Sydney)


    Widyawati, M., Florin, N.H, Church, T. and Harris, A.T., (2011) "Hydrogen synthesis from biomass pyrolysis with in situ carbon dioxide capture using calcium oxide", International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. Vol. 36, pp 4800-4813.







    11 / Computer vision, robotics & AI

    Next generation computer vision and AI enabled technology for the architecture, design, engineering and construction sectors (Laing O'Rourke).





    12 / Future of Work

    Thought leadership on the future of work and professional practice in architecture, design, engineering, infrastructure and construction, including the 2017 Warren Centre Innovation Lectureship, 2016 Engineers Australia National Congress Keynote, 2016 Australian Future of Work Conference Keynote, The Future Cities Conference Keynote in 2016, the 2016 Chief Innovation Officer's Summit, et al.





    13 / HAZER Group

    Hazer (ASX:HZR) is developing novel technology to jointly disrupt the graphite and hydrogen production industries.