Professor Harro von Blottnitz

Designation: Head: Environmental & Process Systems Engineering Research Group
Expertise: Sustainable development; resource flows; environmental systems analysis; waste management; sustainable consumption; biogas, life cycle assessment

Professor Harro von Blottnitz


B.Sc. ENG. (Chemical), UCT; B.Sc. Hons. (Operations Research); UNISA, MSc ENG., UCT;
Doctorate in Engineering (Dr.-Ing.), RWTH Aachen


Read about his inaugural lecture as a professor in engineering here

Enjoying a settled academic position in a highly dynamic and successful department, I define my research and teaching interests by the multiple challenges of sustainable development in developing country settings, especially as these pertain to resource flows. My interests span topics in the fields of Environmental Systems Analysis, Renewable Fuels Processing (biogas, biodiesel and bio-ethanol), Waste Management and Sustainable Consumption. Since joining the University of Cape Town in 1998, 18 Masters and 3 PhD students have completed their theses under my supervision, and we have published some 25 papers in peer-reviewed journals since 2006. I have taught in 7 different courses in the undergraduate curriculum and have introduced sustainability to the curriculum at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. In 2009, I led a team that hosted the 4th international Life Cycle Management conference in Cape Town.
From 1995 until May 1998 I was employed at the Chair for Mineral Processing, Beneficiation and Waste Treatment at the Aachen University of Technology in Germany, where I also worked on my doctoral dissertation. In this I developed an extension of the sampling theory of particulate solids for applications in recycling operations. The doctorate in engineering was awarded summa cum laude in 1999.
With my roots in South Africa's Eastern Cape and in Namibia, I commenced my academic career with a BSc in Chemical Engineering (first class honours) from the University of Cape Town in 1990. After two years as a process engineer on a PVC production plant, I returned to UCT in 1993, obtaining an MSc.Eng. in 1994. My MSc thesis describes the development of a hydrometallurgical process to treat chromium-containing flue dusts, and assesses the environmental performance of this process vis-à-vis the pyrometallurgical alternative, by a pioneering process-focussed Life Cycle Assessment.


2008-present Associate professor in Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town.
2000-2007 Senior lecturer in Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town.
2004 Visiting researcher at the Centre d’Energetique of the Ecole des Mines de Paris.
2003-2006 Convenor of the Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Programme
1998-2000 Care-taker manager, Environmental Process Engineering Research Group, UCT, and contract lecturer in Chemical Engineering, UCT.
1995-1998 Scientific Officer at the Chair for Mineral Processing, Beneficiation and Waste Treatment
of the Aachen University of Technology, Germany. One of the main duties was the organisation of
the XX International Mineral Processing Congress, including editing and publication of the congress proceedings.
1993 Research Officer at UCT, Chemical Engineering.
1991-1992 Process engineer at PVC-Coalplex plant at AECI's Midland Factory, Sasolburg. Work done includes
plant modifications, technical investigations and information systems design and implementation.

Professor Blottnitz's full biography can be found here


Tel : + 27 21 650 2512
Fax: + 27 21 650 5501
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