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Prof Simon Hall staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84653

Prof Simon Hall PhD, MSc (First Class), BSc

Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor

College of Sciences

I received my BSc (1985), MSc (Hons, 1986) and PhD (1988) in Chemistry from the University of Auckland. I was supervised by Graham Wright for my PhD studies on establishing the mechanism for the charge and discharge of the lead anode in the lead-acid battery system. I then worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the then University of Wales College of Cardiff with the late David Williams (School of Chemistry) and the late Michael Barnett (School of Pharmacy). This project was focused on understanding and then predicting the behaviour of fat emulsions in complex intravenous nutrition formulations. In 1991 I moved to the Manchester Metropolitan University (the former Manchester Polytechnic) and spent 5 years teaching undergraduate and postgraduate Chemistry to, amongst others, students on day release from employment in the region's chemical industries. I was also a regional tutor for The Open University during this time. In 1996 I then moved to take up a lecturing position in Chemistry at Massey University. At this point I recommenced my research interests in electrochemistry, both in establishing mechanisms and in energy storage applications. One study with PhD student Michael Liu led to the development of a viable zinc electrode for use in rechargeable zinc batteries.

In 2002 I went on a Leave of Absence from Massey University to take up 6 month Visiting Scientist position at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the USA.

In late 2003 I went on a second Leave of Absence to work as Chief Science Officer for the spin out companies Anzode (NZ) Ltd and Anzode Inc (USA) formed to commercialise the zinc battery work.

In late 2007 I returned to Massey University having completed the science objectives with Anzode. I have been Professor of Electrochemistry since 2010.

Awards and Honours include: Fellow of the NZ Institute of Chemistry (2008), Fonterra Prize for Industrial & Applied Chemistry (2008), Bayer Innovators Award for Research and Development (2010), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2010). I was a founding Principal Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and since 2015 have been an Emeritus Investigator in that Institute.

In 2015 I was appointed as a Director on the Boards of both NZ Genomics Ltd (NZGL) and REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network NZ). NZGL was a collaboration between the University of Otago, the University of Auckland and Massey University and provides an end-to-end genomics service within New Zealand – from experimental design and data sequencing, through to bioinformatics support and data storage. REANNZ is a Crown-owned company that owns, operates and enhances New Zealand’s advanced computing network. I completed my terms as director for these companies in 2018.

I have led the Chemistry & Biophysics Group in the Institute of Fundamental Sciences (2010-2012), been the Head of Institute for the Institute of Fundamental Sciences (2013-2017) and am now the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for the College of Sciences.

Career summary: BSc (1985), MSc (Hons, 1986) and PhD (1988) in Chemistry,University of Auckland; Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Wales College of Cardiff, 1988-1991; Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, Manchester Metropolitan University, 1991-1996; Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, then Professor in Electrochemistry, Massey University, 1996-now; Chief Science Officer, Anzode NZ Ltd & Anzode Inc (US), 2003-2007; Principal Investigator (2003-2015) then Emeritus Investigator (2015-now),  MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology; Director and Board member, NZGL (NZ Genomics Ltd), 2015-2018; Director and Board member, REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network NZ), 2015-2018.

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Contact details

  • Ph: +64 6 951 7653
    Location: ScB2.18, Science Tower B
    Campus: Manawatu


  • Doctor of Philosophy - University of Auckland (1988)
  • Master of Science (First Class) - University of Auckland (1986)
  • Bachelor of Science - University of Auckland (1985)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

My research over the last 20 years has been focussed on the application of electrochemistry to energy storage. The bulk of this work has been in the area of rechargeable batteries with peripheral involvement in solar cells. My work with PhD student Michael Liu (1997-2003) led to the development of a practical zinc anode for use in rechargeable alkaline batteries. Until that point zinc electrodes were highly prone to failure during charge-discharge cycling due to changes in electrode shape. We patented this work and the company Anzode was formed by CEO Chris Officer to commercialise this work. The work necessarily remains confidential. Our original patent filing in 2001 has now led to the granting of patents in 27 countries or patent territories (with on-going patent applications in a further 4 countries). I also am a co-inventor on 4 other granted patents from work I was involved in at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In 2011, together with colleagues Mark Waterland and Gareth Rowlands, Massey University and the BioCommerce Centre we formed the spin-out company Synthodics Ltd. This company was formed to provide a commercial vehicle for our next battery developments. In 2012 we were granted 'Smart Ideas' funding by the NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to develop our research. In 2018 we decied to close this company as it no longer served any purpose.


21st Century Citizenship, Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Chemical Science (030000): Chemical Thermodynamics and Energetics (030602): Colloid and Surface Chemistry (030603): Electrochemistry (030604): Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural (030600)



Physical Chemistry


Appied Electrochemistry

Energy Storage


Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Not Specified 0 5
Project Leader 3 20
Team Member 2 0

Current Projects

Project Title: New Cathodes Phase Two

Date Range: 2014 - 2020

Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Project Team:

Completed Projects

Project Title: New cathodes for aqueous rechargeable batteries

In recent years most countries have realised the need to diversify from reliance on fossil fuels. Batteries are one component of the means to achieve this goal by providing energy storage in vehicles (wholly electric or as hybrids) and for solar and wind generation. The New Cathodes project aims to produce novel electrode materials for revolutionary batteries. Fundamental discoveries in rechargeable battery chemistries are historically rare: lead acid in 1859, nickel cadmium in 1899, nickel metal hydride in 1989 and lithium-ion batteries in the 1970s. The Science Leader's research group developed a new zinc electrode in 2001 which has since been commercialised. A Massey University team consisting of Simon Hall (Science Leader), Mark Waterland and Gareth Rowlands will develop a pioneering New Cathode through fundamental research. The chemistry of the New Cathode is highly confidential. The team has identified a hitherto unexploited chemistry in batteries. While the concept is simple, it requires a series of technological advances to be made before a practical battery can be demonstrated. The makeup of the team is diverse in recognition of the types of challenges to be overcome: Prof Hall has experience with creating and developing new battery systems, Dr Waterland has skills in applying molecular modelling and Dr Rowlands will apply his synthetic skills to creating the new materials. Over the 2 year project, the viability of the New Cathode will be established. We will then develop the new chemistry into a practical battery. Our goal is to commercialise our work and we have set up the new company, Synthodics Ltd., to provide a commercial framework. Success in creating our new materials will develop new high value products and manufacturing for NZ to service the global opportunities that new battery chemistries can offer. We will assemble proof-of-concept batteries by 2017, establish manufacturing partnerships by 2018 and gain first revenue by 2020.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2012 - 2014

Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Teaching and Supervision

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 0 2
Co-supervisor 0 4

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Benjamin Munro - Doctor of Philosophy
    Structure and properties of tunable Pickering emulsions
  • 2015 - Kelsey Mortensen - Doctor of Philosophy
    Development of a New Cathode for Aqueous Rechargeable Batteries

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2018 - Ashley Way - Doctor of Philosophy
    Edge Functionalisation of Graphene Nanoribbons with a Boron Dipyrrin Complex
  • 2017 - Haidee Dykstra - Doctor of Philosophy
    At the Cutting edge: Structural analysis and chemical modification of the edges of mechanically cleaved graphene nanoribbons
  • 2015 - Adam Swanson - Doctor of Philosophy
    Sensors for Optics-Based Strain, Temperature and Chemical Sensing
  • 2013 - Yasar Kutuvantavida - Doctor of Philosophy
    Optical Properties of Organic NLO Chromophores for Terahertz Applications

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