Prof. Cristina Trois is the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)/National Research Foundation (NRF) South African Research Chair in Waste and Climate Change (Tier 1) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, since 2018. Full Professor in Environmental Engineering, she served as Dean of the School of Engineering at UKZN from 2012 to 2018, and Head of Department/Chair of Civil Engineering, Land Surveying and Construction Management from 2008 to 2012. Since January 2022, she serves as Acting Director of the (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) WASH R&D Centre at UKZN.
She holds a degree in Environmental Engineering (summa cum laude) and a PhD in Geo and Environmental Engineering from the University of Cagliari, Italy. Prof. Trois is a C1-rated researcher (Internationally recognized) with the National Research Foundation (NRF) and a Professional Engineer with the Engineering Council of Italy.
Her main fields of expertise are: Environmental and Civil Engineering, Waste Management and Climate Change, Sustainable Cities, Waste and Resources Management, Bioenergy, Green and bio-Hydrogen, Waste to Energy, Biogas, Water/Wastewater Engineering, Systems Modelling and Decision-support tools, Renewable Energy from waste and GHGs control from zero waste in Africa and developing countries, Circular Economy.
She developed and coordinated the Master Programme in Environmental Engineering (2001-2011) and the first Master Programme in Waste and Resources Management in South Africa (2018 to date). She has graduated over 120 postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Prof Trois is author of over 130 peer-reviewed publications in ISI-rated journals, conference proceedings, including chapters in books and mono-series. Series Editor for Springer (Nature) for the Series “Waste as a Resource”, Co-editor of the book “Waste Management in Developing Countries” for Springer (Nature), she is in the editorial/review panel of several leading ISI Scientific Journals and actively collaborates with recognised national and international Institutions.
Chair of the joint secretariat for the Southern Africa Region of the UN-IPLA Programme (International Partnership for advancing waste management services of local authorities) and the IWWG (International Waste Working Group), she is Fellow of the Global Engineering Dean’s Council and active member of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies. She is also co-PI in two communities of practice funded by the NRF and the Presidential Commission for Climate Change: CoP Waste and Resources Management (Waste to Value) with UCT, UWC and UKZN and CoP “Climate Change Research in Collaboration with Society” with UCT and WITS.
Prof. Trois has over 25 years of international experience in Environmental Sanitary Engineering and has been the principal investigator as well as the project coordinator of many multi-million Rand feasibility and RDI waste and resources management projects in South Africa, Africa and around the world. She is the developer of the WROSETM Model (Waste to Resource Optimisation and Scenario Evaluation), an innovative Decision-Support Tool for local authorities and industry, and advisor for the Just Energy and Decarbonisation Transition, waste and climate change, waste to energy projects to the South African Government and international governmental agencies.
First woman to become full Professor and Dean of Engineering in the history of UKZN, in 2019 she was bestowed the title of Dame of the Italian Republic (Order of the Star of Italy) by the President of the Italian Republic for her outstanding contribution to the development of research and human capital in Africa. Fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering (SAAE) since 2015, she was inducted as Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in 2019. In 2016, she was the first runner up in the Distinguished Women in Science Awards by the DSI. As a dedicated scholar and researcher of international standing, in 2022, UKZN honoured her as Fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
As global engineering leader, Prof. Trois is the co-founder of the RISE (Rising to the Top) Women Leadership Academy, under the aegis of the Global Secretariat of the International Federation of the Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) and the Global Engineering Deans Council (GEDC).
Prof Bernard Bekker
Associate Director / SARChI chair in Power Systems Simulation
Prof Bernard Bekker originally trained as an electronic engineer, working in banking as a systems and network analyst, before redirecting his career towards his two passions: green building and renewable energy. In 2017, after various roles within the solar PV and power electronics industries, he joined Stellenbosch University. His research focuses on power system planning and operation, specifically related to the increasing prevalence of grid-connected distributed storage and generation. He holds the NRF SARChI chair in Power Systems Simulation and is a registered professional engineer with ECSA.
Prof McGregor obtained his PhD in Reactor Optimisation from the University of the Witwatersrand. He is an experienced Principal Process Engineer, and an award-winning patent holder and author. He worked at Sasol for over 20 years where he concentrated on developing and commercialising renewable, sustainable and solar thermal technologies in order to increase profitability and reduce waste. He also led the development of a solar thermal collector, the Stellio heliostat, a career highlight. He left industry to join Stellenbosch University as an Associate Professor in the thermofluids division of the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering. He also serves as Director of the Solar Thermal Research Group (STREG) in the department. At CRSES, his focus is mainly on green hydrogen technologies.
Dr Neill Goosen completed all his studies at Stellenbosch University and holds a BEng., MSc.Eng. and PhD in Chemical Engineering. At CRSES, he has assumed the Directorship of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Energy. ARUA is an alliance of 16 research-focussed African Universities that have realised the need to increase the quantity and quality of research emanating from the continent. Stellenbosch University hosts the Centre of Excellence in Energy, which aims to investigate how to best integrate renewable energy into African food systems and value chains in order to address the large climate impact of agriculture, and to increase yields and reduce post-harvest losses of agricultural produce. The Centre will do collaborative research with various African partner universities (both ARUA and non-ARUA universities), and also act as a platform to bring together multidisciplinary teams to address some of the most difficult energy-related developmental problems in Africa.
Dr Chihota received his B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Cape Town, in 2011, 2015, and 2019, respectively. From 2019 to 2020, he worked as a Research Engineer with the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES), Stellenbosch, South Africa. Since 2020, he has been a Post-doctoral Fellow with the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at Stellenbosch University, His research interests include distribution network planning using probabilistic techniques, load modelling and customer characterization, distributed energy resource integration, and autonomous control of inverter-based energy resources. Dr Chihota serves on the working group and committee of the South African Bureau of Standards for the SANS 507 standard, which deals with the design of low voltage networks in South Africa. He is also a member of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers in the Load Research Chapter.
Dr Richmore Kaseke holds a PhD in Physics from University of Fort Hare. He was a founding member of the Measurement and Verification (M&V) Team at the University of Fort Hare in 2005 and worked as an M&V Team Technician since then. He was later promoted in 2007 to M&V Team Senior Engineer, a position he held till 2012. The role included assessment of the feasibility of Energy Management Opportunities (EMO’s), develop and plan methodologies for project assessment. He was then appointed from 2012 to 2020 as Measurement and Verification Researcher in the Fort Hare Institute of Technology. He has over 14 years of experience in Eskom IDM’s Measurement and Verification of energy savings (energy audits) in residential, commercial and industrial energy use sectors. He has over eight years of human capital and project management experience. He is now holding the position of Senior Research Engineer (Project Manager) at CRSES. A Certified Energy Manager and Certified Measurement and Verification Professional, Dr Kaseke is a seasoned energy professional with great enthusiasm and unquenchable thirst to achieve successful design, implementation, commissioning and performance evaluation of energy projects.
Monique le Roux started her career with Eskom in Network Operations and was responsible for grid management before being appointed as a Senior Engineer in Network Planning, where she was responsible for the planning and grid connection of new renewable energy plants on the Eskom network. Monique also worked in the private sector for several years, where she oversaw the grid planning and grid connection of over 1GW of new-generation plant, before joining the CSIR in 2020. Her research at the CSIR was focused on national grid planning and grid stability with the introduction of large-scale renewable energy. She also worked closely with various municipalities and government entities to ensure future energy security in South Africa. She holds a BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Stellenbosch University, a MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and is a registered professional engineer. She joined the CRSES in 2023 as a Chief Engineer.
Don holds a BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the latter of which focused on the design of a supersonic turbine running in the first stage of a liquid-propellant rocket engine turbopump. He began working for the CRSES in 2017 as part of an NRF-DST internship programme, after which he was hired by the Centre as a research engineer focusing on solar PV, radiometric data collection and various smaller consulting based projects. Don also acts as a supervisor for final year Mechanical Engineering students and interns at the CRSES.
Storm obtained a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Stellenbosch University, where her postgraduate research focused on wastewater treatment, renewable energy, resource recovery, and integrated waste management. Her strong interest in the applications of process design, modeling, and optimization has led her to develop innovative solutions for a range of engineering problems, with a particular passion for the renewable energy sector and bolstering energy security in South Africa. Her expertise in this field has enabled her to contribute to several high-profile projects, including the design and optimization of large-scale energy systems.
Simnikiwe is a junior engineer at CRSES. He holds a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering (light current) from Nelson Mandela University as well as a Chemical Engineering Diploma from the University of Johannesburg. He currently coordinates the schools programme at CRSES.
Lavhelesani Maluleke holds a BEng degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stellenbosch University and a National Diploma In Mechanical Engineering from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. His focus at CRSES is low temperature solar thermal technologies.
Sedzani holds a Bachelor‘s degree in administration from the University of Venda and an MBA from the Regent Business school. She has certificates in project administration and compliance management from Getsmarter UCT and strategic management and knowledge management from UNISA. She recently completed a programme in advanced strategic management from UNISA School of Business Leadership. She has shadowed the ICT senior manager for the past five years, gaining a good understanding of cross-functional business activities such as IT business analysis, IT reporting and facilitation of IT risk assessments, maintaining IT risk register and risk reporting.
Elmien graduated at Cape Peninsula University of Technology with BTECH: Business Admin and after that PGDIP in Labour Law at University of the Western Cape. She successfully completed her MPhil in Labour Law in August 2022 at University of the Western Cape. She has been with Stellenbosch University for almost 17 years, currently working as the Senior Administrative and Financial Officer for CRSES. Prior to that, she worked in the private sector.
Sandelize has been with the centre for 10 years and holds a National Diploma in Management Assistant from Boland College Stellenbosch. Further studies include completed certification in NQF level 3 & NQF level 4 Certificates in AAT Accounting Technician and she is currently completing level 5. She is our receptionist and assistant to the Director and Associate Director of CRSES.
Tshilidzi holds a Bachelor of Science Hons in Biochemistry and Microbiology from University of Venda as well as a Post graduate Diploma in Project Management from Regent Business School. She previously worked as a Research Assistant at University of Venda and as a Research Technologist at South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). At CRSES her focus is project management at a technology deployment site in Limpopo.
Inge-Rae Scholtz is a Communications, Marketing and Events Coordinator at Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies. She holds a National Secretarial Diploma (Law) from Boland College and has completed the AAT Certificate: Accounting Technician levels 3 and 4. She aims to further her studies in the near future.
Fhatuwani Mulaudzi is an Assistant Marketing and Communications Officer at the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies, Stellenbosch University. She has previously worked at a Radio station, News channel, a government department, and an Online news site. She holds a Baccalaureus Technologiae in Journalism, from the Tshwane University of Technology.
Jafaru has a doctorate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, with research expertise bordering on the Supply Chain Optimization of Alternative Energy generation. He also possesses a Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering both obtained from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He has over five years of experience working as a Scientific Officer with the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, Abuja FCT, Nigeria, and has previous stints working as a Business Development Analyst at a light manufacturing firm in Nigeria. His current research focuses on assessing the trade-offs and synergies in the water-energy-food nexus within the African context.
Centre Manager of the ARUA Centre of Excellence in Energy
Yumna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Science as well as a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development Management and Planning from Stellenbosch University. The latter research concerned energy-water nexus models using System Dynamics Modelling techniques.