Dr Erik Wolfaardt

Postdoctoral fellow | Circular Economy

Short Bio

Erik Wolfaardt is a shared postdoctoral fellow between the Department of Chemical Engineering and the South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, investigating the state of the circular economy and pathways to increased circularity within the South African grape and wine industry. After completing his MScEng at Stellenbosch University (SU), he gained several years of industry experience in the field of data-driven process modelling, troubleshooting and optimisation, including process control and advanced process control solutions. He then completed a PhD at Sherbrooke University, Canada, with a focus on biofuel production from agro-industrial waste.

Professional experience

2023 – present: Postdoctoral fellow, SU. Research: Grape4Green – Circular Economy in the South African Grape & Wine industry. Host: Prof. A. Chimphango & Prof. M. Vivier.
2018 – 2019: Process engineer/Solution consultant: Stone Three Mining Solutions.
2011 – 2018: Lead solution consultant | Project engineer: GE Digital Mine | GE Intelligent Platforms.
2009 – 2011: Process engineer | Junior process engineer: CSense Systems.


2019 – 2022: PhD in Chemical Engineering. Sherbrooke University, Canada. Research topic: Concentrated acid hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass for bioethanol production – towards market competitiveness. Key focus on acid hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass, process improvement and reagent recovery. Supervisors: Prof. J.M. Lavoie and Prof. J. Görgens.
2008 – 2009: MScEng (Extractive Metallurgy). SU, South Africa. Research topic: Predictive thermal modelling of platinum furnace using embedded phase space and neural network modelling. Supervisor: Prof. C. Aldrich.
2004 – 2007: BEng (Chemical). SU, South Africa.

Research Interests

Circular Economy, Renewable materials, Regenerative agriculture, Sustainability

Selected Publications

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