Bioresource Engineering

The Bioresource Engineering group is large, diverse and ambitious and includes dynamic researchers who are working to find solutions for some of the big and pressing questions that society needs to address in our lifetimes. To ensure a sustainable future our biological resources need to be used optimally, and the Chemical and Process Engineer’s role is central to developing industrial processes that are safe, sustainable and profitable. The group’s research therefore revolves around the use of biological resources in the development of production processes, and can be subdivided into two classes: processes that employ biological resources (e.g. live organisms like yeasts or bacteria, or active biological molecules like enzymes) to transform raw materials into valuable products, or production processes that use biological raw materials as inputs.

There is a strong interdisciplinary focus within the group, and frequent collaboration occurs with other disciplines at Stellenbosch University and with leading foreign institutions. Specialist skills from other research groups within our own Department are also regularly employed to enhance the quality of research outputs. There are a number of exciting current research projects, and expansion into new fields is anticipated.

The researchers listed below all form part of the Bioresource Engineering group. Follow the link to their individual profiles to find out more about their research interests and activities.

Researchers

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Bioresources, waste valorisation, biorefineries & biomaterials

Short Bio

Education

• PhD (Chemical Engineering), Stellenbosch University, 2010
• MSc (Agricultural Engineering- Postharvest), McGill University, 1997
• BSc (Agriculture- Agric. Engineering) with Distinction, University of Malawi, 1992

Professional experience

2014 – present Senior lecturer Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University
2008 – 2014 Lecturer Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University
2001 – 2005 Project Manager Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG), Cape Town
1993 – 2000 Lecturer Department of Agricultural Engineering, University of Malawi
1992 – 1993 Assistant Manager/ Management Trainee Technical Department-Agribusiness Section, Lever Brothers Malawi LimitedUnilever, Malawi

Part time:

2003 – 2005: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) Consultant C Masters Development Services (CMDS) professional services, Cape Town
May – Sept 2005: African facilitator/coordinator Sustainability Watch Network, Kampala, Uganda
10 – 12 Feb 2005: Consultant facilitator Yonge Nawe Environmental Action Group, Mbabane, Swaziland
15 – 19 March 2004: Local Consultant Mid-Term Evaluation for USAID funded Girls in the Vanguard (GIV) Salesian Project Office inSouthern Africa, Cape Town

Special Awards/Grants:

2015: Australian African Award, University of Sydney
2014: Rectors award General Performance- (Stellenbosch)
2008: Bursary- South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI)
2007: Bursary: Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES). The Knut and Kringstad Award for best poster presentation 14thISWFPC
2006: Andrew Mellons Fellowship, Stellenbosch University Bursary: Department of Process Engineering Women in Science Award, Department of Science and Technology Postgraduate Merit Bursary for Foreign Students at Stellenbosch University

National and International Responsibilities:

• Reviewer of various International Journals,
• Member of the expert group for "DECC - Climate-KIC Global Calculator Expert Workshop (Land Use, Bioenergy, Food), Imperial College, UK ,
• Invited guest lecturer and Researcher- University of Campinas and University of Manchester.
• Visiting researcher Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology;
• External examiner for postgraduate theses
• Grant proposal reviewer locally and internationally

International and Local Collaborations and Associations:

• Supergen- University of Manchester;
• Newcastle University (UK), Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology (Ghana)
• Njala university (Sierra Leon)
• Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology (Kenya);
• University of Kwazulu Natal (SA)
• University of Venda (SA)
• EnsiacetToulose (France)
• Fibre and Paper Institute (Norway)
• Bioenergy- LACAf – University of Campinas (Brazil)
• Darmouth University (USA)

Research Interests

Bioresource engineering including biomass processing, bioprocess engineering, postharvest, sustainable bioenergy systems, and sustainable biometerials.
Research focus on developing efficient and environmentally sensitive methods of producing functional foods, bio-based products and bioenergy from agriculture, agro-process and industrial residues based on green engineering and green chemistry approaches. The specific research areas include:

Biomass processing – biorefineryapproach:

– Advanced lignocellulose fractionation methods for selective extraction of cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin
– Tailor made fractionation methods to selectively isolate bioproducts and co-products with applications in feed and food processes to improve health and functional properties
– Development of integrated process for production of nano-celluloses and nano-hydrogels from agricultural and industrial wastes
– Synthesis of bioproducts with new functionalities from fractionation products
– Development of new biomass process configurations
– Physical and biochemical modification of structural and functionalities of biomaterials
– Production of soluble and insoluble fibres for functional and health foods.
– Co-production of bioenergy and high value products

Bioprocess engineering:

– Enzyme production and application in biopolymers
– Biomaterial modification and application as additives, entrapment matrices, slow release devices, flour replacers in baking and prebiotics

Sustainable bioenergy systems:

– Systems approach in integrated food and bioenergy systems
– Integration of renewable energy in postharvest technologies, thus, food processing and preservation technologies
– Systems dynamics for tracking and assessing sustainability of flow of bio-resources from agriculture and forestry

CURRENT PROJECTS

• Organic waste: a bioresource for production of novel cellulose nanocomposites- CSIR/DST 2016-2018
• Nanocellulose from Paper Sludge (PAMSA)- 2016-2017
• Inulin biorefinery for sustainable food production from Jerusalem artichoke. Research and Technology fund (RTF)- NRF-2014-2017
• Postharvest technology for sustainable livelihoods of small fresh produce producers in South Africa. Research and Technology fund (RTF)-NRF (2014-2016)
• Norway/South Africa SANCOOP Programme-Biorefineries for co-production of high value materials and bio-energy, as mitigationof climate change (BioCoPro) (2014-2016)
• Energy Efficient Rural Food Processing Utilising Renewable Energy to Improve Rural Livelihoods (New Castle University, Knust (Ghana), Njala University, (Sierra Leone), Jommo Kenyatta University (Kenya), Practical action (UK), Environmental Foundation for Africa (EFA) Sierra Leone and Kassel University) 2013-2015

STUDENT SUPERVISION

• Current: 6 PhDs, 4 MEng and 1 Post Doc
• Graduated: 1 PhD, 7 MSc

Selected Publications

A list of her published works can be found on her Google Scholar profile.

Teaching

Biology 324
Environmental Engineering 442 and 454
Heat Transfer A326

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Bioresources, waste valorisation, biorefineries & biomaterials
[ultimate_modal modal_title="Prof Neill Goosen" modal_on="text" modal_on_align="left" read_text="Prof Neill Goosen" overlay_bg_opacity="80" el_class="openmodal" img_size="80" header_text_color="#78b0de" txt_color="#78b0de" header_font_style="font-weight:bold;" header_font_size="desktop:22px;" trigger_text_font_style="font-weight:bold;" trigger_text_font_size="desktop:16px;"]
Biorefineries, Bio-feedstock valorisation & Water-energy-food nexus
Download CV |

Short Bio

Prof Goosen obtained his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering at Stellenbosch University, before relocating to the United Kingdom for two years where he worked at a consulting company in the mining and minerals industry. In 2010 he returned to Stellenbosch University to commence his PhD studies, and in 2013 he took up a permanent position at the Department of Process Engineering. He is currently appointed as the Director for the ARUA Centre for Excellence in Energy and is Associate Professor in the Department of Process Engineering.

Research Interests

Dr Goosen’s overall research philosophy is to apply his skills for the betterment of South Africa and the society we live in, through excellent and relevant research, and through the training and development of exceptional engineers. His research has a strong interdisciplinary focus and he frequently collaborates with the disciplines of Agriculture and basic sciences to define and solve particular problems, and to find applications for the products and processes developed by his research group. Particular research interests include valorisation of agricultural and food processing by-products, and extraction of valuable compounds from bio-substrates. Two relevant projects that are currently under way are 1) development of value-added products from fish processing by-products, with the aim of improving the sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources, and 2) developing environmentally and economically sustainable processes that use seaweeds as raw material, by applying biorefinery principles.

Selected Publications

A list of his published works can be found on his Google Scholar profile.

Teaching

Engineering Chemistry 123
Chemical Engineering 264 (fluid mechanics)

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Biorefineries, Bio-feedstock valorisation & Water-energy-food nexus
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Biorefineries, techno-economics & bioprocessing

Short Bio

Johann F. Görgens is a professor in chemical engineering with over 20 years’ experience in bioenergy/biomass projects in industry and academia. Prof Görgens holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and an MBA degree, both from Stellenbosch University. He acts as the director of Centre for Process Engineering at Stellenbosch University, coordinating a wide range of research collaborations with public and private funders.

His research focus is on the development of process technologies for conversion of biomass and wastes into valuable products, in a manner that is practical, affordable and sustainable, thereby resulting in sustainable processes. His multidisciplinary approach to research has included participation as a core member in the Research Chair in Biofuels/BioEnergy (CoER) at Stellenbosch University, which addresses a range of chemical/thermochemical/biological process technologies for biomass and wastes conversion. Contributions from his research group to the CoER include kilogram-scale process development and technology assessments through simulation studies. Simulations allow comparative assessment of process technologies in terms of conversion efficiencies, economic viability and (life-cycle) environmental impacts, providing a comprehensive method to select preferred processes through sustainability. The scope of end-products includes various bio-energy options, as well as multiple food, feed, chemicals and materials that can be produced for the valourisation of organic and carbonaceous wastes. Integration of experimental at kilogram scale with simulation development has created an excellent basis to identify preferred technologies for local implementation.

Research Interests

Biochemical conversion of biomass and organic wastes into fuels and chemicals
Pyrolysis processing of biomass and organic/carbonaceous wastes
Biorefineries for foods, fuels and chemicals from biomass and organic wastes
Bioprocess development with microbial and enzymatic systems

Selected Publications

Visit my Google Scholar Profile for a complete list of my publications.

Teaching

Thermodynamics A214
Heat Transfer A326
Postgraduate short course in Bio-energy, presented annually in September together with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies
Shortcourses for Biotech and Food industries in Aseptic processing and Good Manufacturing Practise, presented annually

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Biorefineries, techno-economics & bioprocessing
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Process modelling & monitoring

Short Bio

Education

PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2013, cum laude)

B.Eng in Chemical Engineering (University of Pretoria, 2007, cum laude)

Appointments

Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Programme Coordinator: Stellenbosch University, Dept. of Process Engineering; January 2019 - present

Senior Lecturer: University of Stellenbosch, Dept. of Process Engineering; January 2016 - December 2018

Lecturer: University of Stellenbosch, Dept. of Process Engineering; May 2015 - December 2015

Postdoc: University of Cape Town, Dept. of Chemical Engineering; August 2013 - April 2015

Scholarly activities and awards

Grand Challenges Africa grant: Principle investigator on the use of machine learning in antimicrobial resistance surveillance.

Active collaborations in international research projects with a focus on urban wastewater profiling.

Multiple industry-funded projects in process monitoring, modelling and optimization.

Stellenbosch University, Engineering Faculty’s “Upcoming Researcher of the Year”, 2019.

National Research Foundation Y2-rated researcher.

Member of the South African Society of Engineering Education, South African Council for Automation and Control, Water Institute of Southern Africa and International Water Association.

Research Interests

Process modelling, monitoring and control, with an emphasis on advances in machine learning. Recent projects include:
• Statistical modelling of micropollutants in river networks
• Statistical modelling of the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance
• Machine learning for process monitoring and control in the minerals processing industry
• Fluid dynamics, mass transfer, and reaction kinetics for (bio)catalytic alkane activation

Selected Publications

A list of his published works can be found on his Google Scholar profile.

Teaching

• Particle Technology 316
• Chemical Engineering 344 (Modelling and Optimization)

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Process modelling & monitoring
[ultimate_modal modal_title="Prof Sampson Mamphweli" modal_on="text" modal_on_align="left" read_text="Prof Sampson Mamphweli" overlay_bg_opacity="80" el_class="openmodal" img_size="80" header_text_color="#78b0de" txt_color="#78b0de" header_font_style="font-weight:bold;" header_font_size="desktop:22px;" trigger_text_font_style="font-weight:bold;" trigger_text_font_size="desktop:16px;"]
Bioenergy & waste valorisation

Short Bio

Professor Ntshengedzeni Sampson Mamphweli completed his PhD in Physics, focusing on biomass gasification, at the University of Fort Hare in 2010. He also holds a Master's degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Venda.

He previously worked for the South African National Parks, the University of Cape Town, and Institute of Technology at the University of Fort Hare, before joining Stellenbosch University in 2017. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Process Engineering, and he is seconded to serve as the Director of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES).

Research Interests

• Bioenergy (gasification, pyrolysis and biogas digesters)
• Waste valorisation

Selected Publications

A list of his published works can be found on his Google Scholar profile.

Teaching

Although Prof Mamphweli does not currently have a teaching load due to his work as Director of CRSES, he does give lectures on Bioenergy.

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Bioenergy & waste valorisation
[ultimate_modal modal_title="Mr Zwonaka Mapholi" modal_on="text" modal_on_align="left" read_text="Mr Zwonaka Mapholi" overlay_bg_opacity="80" el_class="openmodal" img_size="80" header_text_color="#78b0de" txt_color="#78b0de" header_font_style="font-weight:bold;" header_font_size="desktop:22px;" trigger_text_font_style="font-weight:bold;" trigger_text_font_size="desktop:16px;"]
Bioresources, photocatalysis & coal gasification

Short Bio

Zwonaka Mapholi was appointed as Junior Lecturer at the Department of Process Engineering in January 2020. He is busy completing his doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering with a research focus on recovery of HVP from plant biomass and synthesis of biofuels. Previously, he completed his BSc Eng (Chemical) degree at the University of the Witwatersrand's School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering.

Research Interests

Bioresource Engineering (recovery of HVP from plant biomass and synthesis of biofuels)
Applications of "power ultrasound"
Photocatalysis
Coal gasification technology

Teaching

Chemical Thermodynamics (CE 317) (Assistant)

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Bioresources, photocatalysis & coal gasification
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Biofuels, bioreactors & waste beneficiation

Short Bio

Education

• PhD (Chemical Engineering) , University of Cambridge, 2013
• BSc (Hons) (Chemical Engineering), University of Cape Town, 2008

Professional experience

2021 - Present: Associate Professor, Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University
2018 – 2020: Senior Lecturer, Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University
2015 – 2017: Lecturer, Department of Process Engineering, Stellenbosch University
2014 – 2015: Postdoctoral research fellow (Claude Leon Fellowship), Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town
2014: Assistant lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town
2009: Research Assistant, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town

Honours and awards

• Stellenbosch University Teaching award, 2019
• Regional winner of the IOM3 Young Persons Lecture competition, 2014
• PhD prize: Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, 2012
• Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award: Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, 2011

Research Interests

Bioprocess engineering
Biofuels
Waste beneficiation
Biorefineries

Selected Publications

A list of his published works can be found on his Google Scholar profile.

Teaching

Fluid Mechanics 264
Engineering Chemistry 123
Research Design & Expertise (RDE)

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Biofuels, bioreactors & waste beneficiation
[ultimate_modal modal_title="Dr Eugéne van Rensburg" modal_on="text" modal_on_align="left" read_text="Dr Eugéne van Rensburg" overlay_bg_opacity="80" el_class="openmodal" img_size="80" header_text_color="#78b0de" txt_color="#78b0de" header_font_style="font-weight:bold;" header_font_size="desktop:22px;" trigger_text_font_style="font-weight:bold;" trigger_text_font_size="desktop:16px;"]
Fermentation systems, Bioprocess development & Bioenergy from waste

Short Bio

Eugéne van Rensburg is an industrial microbiologist and holds a PhD in Microbiology from the University of the Free State and an MBA degree from Stellenbosch University. He joined the Department of Process Engineering as a postdoctoral fellow in 2008 and later as senior researcher in 2013. He was appointed as senior lecturer in 2019.

Research Interests

Eugéne’s main research interests include (i) bioprocess development with emphasis on fermentation systems and associated up- and downstream processing where microbes and their products are exploited for commercial gain, (ii) biomass processing and extraction of valuable products, and (iii) energy generation from agricultural, bioprocessing and industrial wastes. He seeks to integrate these foci in a multidisciplinary approach where bio-based technologies can be applied to address the Food-Energy-Water Nexus triple challenge within the context of sustainable development in rural Africa.

Selected Publications

A list of his published works can be found on his Google Scholar profile.

Teaching

Chemical Engineering 424 (Bioprocessing)
Short course in Statistics and Design of Experiments (DOE)

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Fermentation systems, Bioprocess development & Bioenergy from waste

Explore Other Research Fields

Bioresource Engineering
Extractive Metallurgy
Separations Technology
Waste Valorisation
Water Technology
Machine Learning