Professor Werner van Zyl

Werner van Zyl
Werner van Zyl pursued his undergraduate studies in South Africa and his PhD studies at Texas A&M University USA with John P. Fackler, Jr. (1994-1998). He was also NWO postdoctoral associate at the University of Twente, Netherlands (1999-2003).

He worked at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) before joining UKZN as a Senior Lecturer in 2008 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014.

His current research interests include:
  • New materials, nanocellulose and lignin.
  • Transparent and flexible solar cells and photovoltaics; Photocatalytic processes. 
  • Desalination, membrane capacitive deionization, redox active electrodes; reverse osmosis
  • Inorganic- and Coordination Chemistry; Green Chemistry; Nanomaterials Chemistry 
Quote:   “There is no purpose of life, only in life, so have a life driven purpose in everything while alive.”
  Associate Professor
  PhD - Texas A&M University 
MSc - RAU 
BSc (Honours)
Discipline:   Inorganic Chemistry
Campus:   Westville
  031 260 3188
Research Areas:   Biomass, Energy, Water
Recent Publications:   The Conversation “How the funding of science research in South Africa can be overhauled” Online published 19 September 2016. Link:

The Conversation “All roads to sustainable energy lead to the sun.” Online published 18 May 2017. Link:

Quartz Africa “Solar energy is really our only answer for long-term sustainable energy” Online published 19 May 2017 Link:

The Conversation “Desalination: global examples show how Cape Town could up its game.” Online published 8 February 2018.

Peer reviewed articles:

W.E. van Zyl and J.D. Woollins. The coordination chemistry of dithiophosphonates: An emerging and versatile ligand class. Coord. Chem. Rev., 2013, 257, 718-731.

R. S. Dhayal, W. E. van Zyl, C. W. Liu. Polyhydrido Copper Clusters: Synthetic Advances, Structural Diversity and Nanocluster-to-Nanoparticle Conversion. Acc. Chem. Res., [ASAP] 2016, 49, 86-95.

M.N. Pillay, H. van der Walt, R.J. Staples, and W.E. van Zyl. C/O/P/S cycles derived from oxidative intramolecular disulfide (-S-S-) coupling of ferrocenyl dithiophosphonates. J. Organomet. Chem., 2015, 794, 33-39.

M. Varkolu, D. Raju Burri, S. R. Rao Kamaraju, S.B. Jonnalagadda, W.E van Zyl. Hydrogenation of biomass-derived levulinic acid by using formic acid as a hydrogen source over a Ni/SiO2 catalysts: influence of preparation method. Chem. Eng. Tech. 2017, 40(4), 719–726.

T. J. Ajayi, M.N. Pillay, W.E. van Zyl. Solvent-free mechanochemical synthesis of dithiophosphonic acids and corresponding nickel(II) complexes. Phos. Sulf. Silicon Relat. Elem. 2017, 192 (11), 1205-1211.

S. A. Ogundare, V. Moodley, W. E. van Zyl, Nanocrystalline cellulose isolated from discarded cigarette filters. Carbohydrate Polymers, 2017, 175, 273-281.

V. Moodley, S. Maddila, S.B. Jonnalagadda, W. E. van Zyl, Synthesis of triazolidine-3-one derivatives through the nanocellulose/hydroxyapatite-catalyzed reaction of aldehydes and semicarbazide. New J. Chem., 2017, 41, 6455-6463.
     Website:   Sustainable Water Energy & Biomass (SUSWEB) Research


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