Professor Werner van Zyl

Werner van Zyl
Werner van Zyl earned his BSc (Chemistry and Geology) and BScHons degrees (Chemistry) as well as a MSc degree (1992) in synthetic organometallic chemistry working on gold and platinum carbene complexes at the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) (now University of Johannesburg). Following a 2.5 year stint in the chemical industry (1992-1994) working at Implats as a Development Chemist, he pursued a PhD degree in (Inorganic) Chemistry at Texas A&M University, USA, under the supervision of John P. Fackler, Jr. (Distinguished Professor Emeritus, retired). The Fackler group worked within the auspices of the Laboratory for Molecular Structure and Bonding under the direction of the late F. Albert Cotton. Indeed, both F.A. Cotton and Nobel Prize laureate G. Wilkinson (1973) are part of his academic genealogy. 

Following his PhD, he was appointed a NWO Postdoctoral Associate (1999-2003) in the Inorganic Materials Science Group, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands. After his postdoctoral stay, he was directly appointed at Senior Lecturer level in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in September 2003. 

In May 2008, van Zyl relocated from UJ to the UKZN where he is currently Full Professor. He has graduated 11 PhD students and 14 MSc students to date. He currently supervises 8 PhD and 2 MSc students and mentors 2 postdocs. He is a regular reviewer for the following journals: Inorganic Chemistry (ACS); Industrial and Engineering Chemical Research (ACS); RSC Advances (RSC) (On journal reviewer panel in 2016, >25 papers per annum); Green Chemistry (RSC); Nanoscale (RSC); Chemical Science (RSC); Chemical Communications (RSC); Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (PCCP) (RSC); ChemistrySelect (Wiley-VCH); Journal of Polymer Science: Part A (Wiley-VCH); Cellulose (Elsevier); Inorganica Chimica Acta (Elsevier); Applied Catalysis A: General (Elsevier). 

He has been a member of the American Chemical Society since 1994, and the South African Chemical Institute. He has also written articles for the academic online forum TheConversation and these have been viewed over 81 000 times to date. His group routinely publishes in high impact journals, such as Accounts of Chemical Research, Inorganic Chemistry, Chem. - Eur. J., Dalton Transactions, Coordination Chemistry Reviews, Carbohydrate Polymers. he has a ISI-Thompson and Scopus h-index of 24, and authored or co-authored over 100 papers with an average citation per item of 17. He has attended over 18 International and 13 National conferences and workshops. He has a good collaboration with several national and international scientists from the US, Taiwan and the UK.
Quote:   "The problem is not people being uneducated. The problem is that people are educated just enough to believe what they have been taught, and not educated enough to question anything from what they have been taught.” - Richard Feynman (1918-1988)
  PhD (Texas A&M University), 1998
BSc, BSc Hons, MSc (RAU)
Discipline:   Inorganic Chemistry
Campus:   Westville
  031 260 3188
Research Areas:  
Over more than 20 years, his research interests cover a broad area within molecular and materials chemistry, with a strong focus on: i) sulfur-based ligands and ligand design, especially the dithiophosphonates and dithiocarbamates, ii) the chemistry of the Group 11 metals (Cu, Ag, Au), iii) formation of metal clusters and hydrido clusters of Cu, Ag and Au, iv) study of solid-state luminescence of Group 11 metal complexes and materials. 

Since 2017, there has also been a shift in research focus in the following three areas: 1. Biomass conversion and fabrication, especially of cellulose, new nanocellulose fabrication, lignin and sugarcane products, and use in SERS, luminescent paper, and catalysts. 2. Energy, focusing on transparant and flexible solar cells and hydrogen and CO2 generation, capture, storage and use. 3. Water, focusing on desalination, esp. capacitive deionisation and redox active electrodes, and reverse osmosis processes. 
Research Profiles:   Google Scholar
Research Gate
Researcher ID
 Website:   Sustainable Water Energy & Biomass (SUSWEB)


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