Dr Mieke Nieder-Heitmann

Lecturer | Bioresource valorization & Techno-economic evaluations

Short Bio

Mieke obtained her B.Eng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch, earning the Jac Van Der Merwe Award for the Most Innovative Final Year Project. Following her time at Lycopodium ADP in Cape Town, where she worked in the diamond mining industry, she pursued her Master’s degree under the guidance of Prof. Johann Görgens. Her Master’s journey evolved into a Ph.D., focusing on the life cycle assessment and techno-economic modelling of various biorefinery scenarios. In 2019, Mieke graduated with her Ph.D. and embarked on a new chapter by relocating to the Netherlands, where she took on the role of Process Engineer at the Process Design Center in Breda. Here, she played a pivotal role in EU collaborative research projects, leading the Life Cycle Costing work package in the WASTE2ROAD project, and contributing to the development of various research proposals. Following this, she took on the role of Feedstock Engineering technologist at Protix B.V., a world leader in black solder fly (BSF) and larvae production. Serving as the technology domain owner of feedstock and rearing processes, she drove innovation and provided operational support with her engineering expertise. Her responsibilities included technology roadmap development, project management, and conceptual process design. In 2024, Mieke and her family relocated back to South Africa, where she plans to engage in part-time lecturing and independent consulting for the bio-resource and -process industries.

Research Interests

Mieke’s research interest lies within the bioresource industry, particularly focusing on upcycling and the valorization of low-grade biobased streams. This encompasses various applications, such as producing roadside fuels through fast pyrolysis of various waste streams such as municipal organic waste or extracting animal protein from agricultural side streams using insects. Moving forward, she aims to delve into the unique properties and functional applications of chitin and chitosan biopolymers derived from insect waste material.

Selected Publications

Visit her Google Scholar Profile for a complete list of her publications.


Chemical Engineering D367 (Mass transfer)