Dyllon Randall is a registered Professional Engineer and has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from UCT (2010). He joined the Civil Engineering Department in 2017 as a Senior Lecturer in Water Quality Engineering. He has worked for the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) where his research focused on the stabilization and treatment of source-separated urine (2015 – 2016; www.autarky.ch). He has also worked for the consulting company, Aurecon, in both their Cape Town and Tshwane offices (2013 – 2014). He has won several awards for his research and has successfully raised R16.295 million in research funding since 2013 from various funding organisations. He is also an Associate Editor for the official journal of the International Mine Water Association. On 24 October 2018, his team announced that they had successfully grown the world’s first bio-brick from urine. The story went viral and resulted in a public lecture request to explain this work in more detail. 

Research interests

  • Sustainable sanitation
  • Urine stabilization and treatment
  • Resource recovery from wastewater
  • Mine water treatment
  • Freeze crystallization
  • Crystallization & precipitation

Current projects:

  • Development of a novel fertilizer-producing urinal
  • Rethinking sanitation by upcycling urine for societal and economic benefits
  • A nature inspired approach for producing bio-bricks from urine
  • Investigating the feasibility of treating urine using eutectic freeze crystallization
  • Development of an integrated wetland microbial fuel cell and sand filtration system for the on-site treatment and recycling of handwashing water
  • Turning municipal sludge beds into bio-power plants using sediment microbial fuel cells
  • Using membrane distillation crystallisation for the treatment of industrial wastewater

In this video, Dyllon describes some innovative ways to collect urine while also making fertilizer from it. He also demonstrates how bio-solids can be “grown” from the urea present in urine.