Anthony Michael (Tony) Vassallo

By September 19th, 2014


Anthony Michael Vassallo was born in Johannesburg South Africa on 4th March 1955.

He obtained his BAppSc (Hons) in Chemistry 1977 at the NSW Institute of Technology (now University of Technology Sydney) and his PhD from Macquarie University, Sydney in 1966. His Thesis was titled ‘An Isotopic and Magnetic Resonance Study of the Liquefaction Behaviour of Liddell Coal’.


He joined the Division of Energy Technology CSIRO as an Experimental Scientist in 1980, was promoted to Research Scientist in 1987, Principal Research Scientist in 1991 and Senior Principal Research Scientist in 1997. From 1999 to 2001, he was Business Development Manager for Energy Storage, CSIRO and in 2001 was appointed Director, CSIRO Centre for Distributed Energy and Power.

He resigned from CSIRO in 2003 to take up the inaugural Delta Electricity Chair in Sustainable Energy Development at the University of Sydney, where he leads the energy theme of the University of Sydney Institute for Sustainable Solutions. He is also vice-president of the Australian Institute of Energy.

His research interests include:

  • the effect of distributed generation on network wide losses and emissions
  • the use of distributed resources to improve network power quality
  • the integration of large-scale renewable energy technologies into Australia’s energy supply system
  • modelling and simulation of alternative energy pathways
  • new energy storage technologies.

He believes that widespread use of energy storage will transform the way we produce, deliver and use electricity, and be the key technology linking transport with renewable energy systems. Vassallo’s research includes the use of supercapacitors in high power/low energy applications such as electric vehicles, the use of regenerative fuel cells in domestic, commercial and precinct electricity storage, and the role of distributed storage in electricity networks.

He conceived, resourced and led the CSIRO Carbon Supercapacitor Project from 1994 till 2001. A key early objective of this project was to ensure that the project would be structured to provide smooth facilitation of technology transfer and commercialisation when appropriate.

This work led to the formation of cap-XX Pty Ltd, an Australian start-up company that has received over $40 million of investment funding from Intel Capital and other organisations.

His interest in developing energy storage solutions is to facilitate the widespread uptake of renewable energy sources, such as large and medium-scale photovoltaic (PV) technology. These, and other renewable energy systems, will play a significant role in reducing Australia’s dependence on fossil fuels, but without integrated energy storage, their impact will be constrained.

With long-life, efficient energy storage, renewable energy systems will be capable of providing continuous, reliable power beyond sunlight hours. For example, efficient storage would allow PV technology to meet typical late evening and night-time electricity demand. The electricity grid of the future will be based on distributed and diverse technologies, incorporating large, medium and micro scale stationary and mobile energy systems. Energy storage and the associated technology to use it as both a source of energy supply and as a load will be a key challenge for our network operators.

Professor Vassallo has published over 70 fully refereed papers in international journals, while his commercially sensitive research has led to sseven patents, six of which are US or other international patents.

Honours and awards

Tony Vassallo’s contributions have been recognised by the following awards:


1996 Fellow, Australian Institute of Energy
1992 Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute


2007 The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, University of Sydney, Volunteer Recognition for contributions to the Energy Committee
2004 CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement as joint team leader of the High Power Supercapacitor Team
2000 CSIRO Chairman’s Medal for the Low Emissions Vehicle Team (joint award)
2000 Merit Award, Macquarie Graduate School of Management, for Management of Innovation
1996 NSW Enterprise Workshop, Commonwealth Bank of Australia Award for Best Marketing Plan ‘ Carbon Supercapacitors, with Plessey Ducon and CSIRO

Board and committee positions

2008 Elected Vice President Australian Institute of Energy
2004 Director of the Australian Institute of Energy
2003$#8209;05 Immediate past Chairman of the Sydney Branch of the Australian Institute of Energy, Director of Invenergy Pty Ltd, and Zest Energy Pty Ltd
2003 Hon Secretary, Energy Committee, Warren Centre of the University of Sydney
2003 Associate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors


  • Vassallo AM, 2009, Personal communication.