Hugo Macedo, PhD


Hugo Macedo, PHD is the multi-award winning Founder and CEO of Smart Separations. Hugo founded Smart Separations in 2013 from the kitchen table, and has grown it to a team of 25 before Coronavirus struck the globe. Unlike many other companies who have been impacted by SARS-CoV-2, Hugo has successfully led the company into some unchartered waters that are anticipated to have a global impact.

Throughout his PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Hugo was constantly challenged with new and diverse tasks, in a multidisciplinary environment. He developed skills from chemical engineering to stem cell technology, including membrane technology, hydrodynamics, stem cell culture and bioprocessing, human blood production, amongst many others. This provided him with the right tools to create the first “3D hollow fibre bioreactor for the production of human red blood cells” – a system design that he patented. This work was featured in different magazines, including the cover page of The Chemical Engineer (TCE) in 2011, selected as one of “Ten Life-Changing Ideas Under Research at UK Universities” by the Research Councils UK and shortlisted for the highly prestigious IChemE Awards in 2011.

Get to know Hugo

Name a favourite scientist, inventor or researcher and tell us why you like them?

A not very known scientist but someone who inspired me for Chemistry and Science - he basically combines Science and Poetry, two of my favourite hobbies. His name is Rómulo de Carvalho. One of my favourite verses says: “They don't know that the dream commands life.” - a truly inspirational quote for me.

What do you think is the most interesting area of research for the future? (Yes, it’s broad).

I think that wireless charging (at a distance) is a fascinating subject. But I will never forget the possibility of time travel.

Tell us one of your favourite quotes?​

I mentioned this above. “They don't know that the dream commands life.”, by my favourite António Gedeão (aka, Rómulo de Carvalho)

What gadget or piece of technology are you most excited by?

Just say “gadget” and I am on it, who cares what it does, as long as I don't know yet. Soon after discovering it, I am no longer excited with it.

If you could put SSL’s filter in anything, where would you put it?

Making blood, it's got to go inside a machine to make blood.

Which book have you given away the most. Why?

Founder’s Dilemmas - I meet many entrepreneurs, some at the start of their journey, and I think they should know the truth.

Leading an amazing team of 20+ experts, all willing to contribute for a better Planet Earth. I feel like I am doing my dream job!

Hugo Macedo, PhD

Fun Filtration Facts

Juice with or without pulp/bits? (i.e. filtered or unfiltered)

Definitely without! I like my drink clear - if I am to have bits in there, I would have ordered the orange itself.

Do you filter your coffee? If so how do you take it? (moka pot, espresso machine, french press etc.)

Of course! I still remember the first (and last time!) I tried an unfiltered Greek coffee without knowing what “unfiltered” stood for and having added sugar and stirred… what a bad experience (not of Greece, but just the unfiltered coffee)!

Where/what was the best water you ever tasted? (i.e. tap water in Lisbon or Volvic water etc.)

Definitely fresh water from my hometown, Arco de Baulhe - close to the local church there is a fountain that still today I love to drink from every time I go there. Our SSL Factory will also happen to be close by, so anyone visiting us can experience this for themselves.

What’s the freshest air you’ve ever experienced? (i.e. on a mountain in the Pyrenees).

When I first turned on Smart Separations’ first prototype!

If you could put SSL’s filter in anything, where would you put itIf you had to get rid of one tiny particle, which would it be? (i.e. cat hair, pollen)

SARS-CoV-2 - the bloody bug doesn’t let us live our lives properly now...

If your air purifier had to emit an odour instead of absorbing them, which smell would you choose?

The smell of rain, so I can feel as if I am outside. I guess after a while I might want to change it to something different...