Page 117 - UCT Research Report 2011

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Research groupings
associated with this theme
Centre for Bioprocess
Engineering Research
The Department of Chemical Engineering has been known
for its interest in bioprocess engineering for more than
three decades. Following the formalisation of this research
area through the establishment of a UCT research unit
in 2001, the activity was upgraded to the Centre for
Bioprocess Engineering Research (CeBER) in 2008, in
recognition of the range of researchers active in this area,
the contribution to research across several interlinked foci,
and its role in the development of human capacity in this
field. CeBER aims to underpin the growth and exploitation
of the biological sciences in SouthAfrica through a national
centre of expertise in bioprocess engineering, in which the
balance between research centred on the fundamental
understanding of biological processes at the mechanistic
level, the interaction of these processes with their
environment and the application of biological principles
to bioprocesses of economic, social, and environmental
importance is maintained. This is underpinned by CeBER
hosting the DST/NRF SARChI Chair in Bioprocess
Engineering. The multi-disciplinary team brings together
expertise in reactor studies, process modelling, biokinetics,
microbial ecology, microbial metabolism, biotransformation,
micro- and molecular biology, and biohydrometallurgy to
develop detailed understanding of bioprocess systems.
CeBER’s key foci include biominerals engineering for
the extraction of metals, as well as the prevention and
remediation of metal-rich effluents, bio-transformation for
value addition, bioprocess optimisation through metabolic
modelling, reactor modelling, mass transfer optimisation,
product liberation and recovery, bioprocess integration, and
the role of the bioprocess in sustainable processes.
Director: Professor S.T.L. Harrison
Centre for Catalysis Research
The Centre for Catalysis Research concerns itself with
both fundamental and applied research and development
in the general field of heterogeneous catalysis
– encompassing all of catalyst synthesis, physico-
chemical characterisation and performance evaluation
for industrially interesting chemical conversions. The
principal fields of investigation include Fischer-Tropsch
synthesis, zeolite/acid catalysis (especially as applied
to hydrocracking and the transformation of phenols and
derivatives) and catalysis by platinum group metals and
gold. In addition, the Centre for Catalysis Research is the
host laboratory for the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in
Catalysis (c*change) and the DST Competence Centre
in Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Catalysis.
Director: Professor J.C.Q. Fletcher
Blast Impact and Survivability
Research Unit
The Department of Mechanical Engineering has been
involved in impact dynamics for over 25 years. In particular,
research has focused on experimental and computational
techniques to provide solutions for blast and structural
impact scenarios. The Blast Impact and Survivability
Research Unit (BISRU) has developed experimental
facilities, which include a blast chamber, a selection of
drop testers, material characterisation systems, and a
sled tester for impact biomechanics. This collection of
equipment is unique in that no other university laboratory
worldwide has this full suite of facilities in one area. The
research activities are aimed at promoting the study and
understanding of impact dynamics through projects at
senior undergraduate level and master’s, doctoral, and
postdoctoral levels. The research objectives are to reduce
the risk of injuries and save lives through fundamental
principles of science and engineering, using experimental,
analytical, and computational tools and techniques to
understand the mechanics, and dynamics of blast and
impact loads. BISRU currently has several international
interactions through collaborative projects with universities
in Australia, Argentina, Europe, and the USA.
Director: Professor G. Nurick
Centre for Research in
Computational and Applied
Profiled on page 96.
Crystallization and
Precipitation Unit
Profiled on page 78.