UCT academic who pioneered urine bio-brick wins global chemical engineers award

University of Cape Town (UCT) academic Dr Dyllon Randall has become the first African recipient of the prestigious global Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Warner Prize. The prize is awarded biennially to people who show “exceptional promise” in sustainable chemical process technology, nuclear technology or in making chemical engineering more accessible to a wider scientific community.

Dr Randall is the fifth recipient to win the award. A chemical engineer by training, Dr Randall and his postgraduate students have pioneered two world-firsts in sustainable resource recovery systems: a waterless urinal that produces fertiliser and a bio-brick grown from human urine.

Commenting on the prize, Dr Randall said: It’s great that our work has been acknowledged internationally through this award, but more importantly, it shows us that people are open to the idea of reusing urine. We will continue making science accessible to the public while also creating paradigm shifts in the sanitation field.”

IChemE is a global professional engineering institution with around 37 000 members in 100 countries. It was founded in 1922 and awarded a Royal Charter in 1957. The institution works to advance chemical engineering’s contribution worldwide for the benefit of society and supports the development of chemical engineering professionals.

The University of Cape (UCT) is one of Africa’s leading academic institutions especially in the field of research and is in the top ten in some continental rankings.