Werner E. van Zyl received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Chemistry in South Africa. He earned a PhD degree in Chemistry from Texas A&M University, USA, in 1998. He was a postdoctoral associate in the Inorganic Materials Science group and MESA+ Research Institute at the University of Twente, The Netherlands (1999-2003), after which he started his independent research career. He is currently Professor of Chemistry at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus. His research interests include biomass usage and conversions (sugarcane, lignin and cellulose-based materials), water purification and desalination processes. Inorganic chemistry topics include Group 11 metal chemistry, sulfur ligands, biomimetic nanomaterials chemistry, metal hydride clusters, and solid-state luminescence.