Oluwasola Afolabi

Dr Oluwasola (Sola) Afolabi

BEng (Hons) MSc (Dist.) PhD CEng CWEM MCIWEM FHEA

  • RAEng Engineering for Development Research Fellow
  • Lecturer in Water & Environmental Engineering

Research and expertise

I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Water & Environmental Engineering. My main research interests are in waste to energy processes; waste management & resource recovery; renewable energy; water quality; wastewater engineering; and WASH. I also have interest in innovation research, development and technology transfer particularly in low- and middle-income countries. I welcome enquires from prospective PhD students.

Current research activity 

  • Principal Investigator, Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Engineering for Development Research Fellowship - Advanced Technological Synergy for Renewable Energy Production in sub-Saharan Africa: 2019 – 2024. 

Recently completed research projects

  • Blue Fuel - Waste to Energy, Nepal
  • BMGF - Reinvent the Toilet Phase 3 - Field testing in Asia and Africa
  • BMGF - Reinvent the Toilet Phase 2 - Prototype design and pilot scale testing 
  • Environmental Agency, UK - Radionuclides behaviour during sewage treatment

Recent publications

  • Afolabi, O.O.D., Sohail, M. and Thomas, C.L.P., (2015) Microwave hydrothermal carbonisation of human biowaste. Waste and Biomass Valorization, 6(2), pp. 147 – 157.
  • Afolabi, O.O.D., and Sohail, M. (2017) Microwaving human faecal sludge as a viable sanitation technology option for treatment and value Recovery. Journal of Environmental Management, 187, pp. 401- 415. 
  • Afolabi, O.O.D., and Sohail, M. (2017) Comparative assessment of conventional and microwave hydrothermal carbonisation of human biowaste. Water Science & Technology, 75(5), pp. 2852 – 2863. 
  • Afolabi, O.O.D., Sohail, M. and Thomas, C.L.P. (2017) Characterization of solid fuel chars recovered from microwave hydrothermal carbonisation of human biowaste, Energy, 134, pp. 74-89.
  • Sohail, M., Cavill, S. and Afolabi, O.O.D. (2017) Transformative technologies for safely managed sanitation. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Municipal Engineer, 171(2), pp. 78-85.
  • Afolabi, O.O.D., Sohail, M., Cheng, Y-L. (2020) Optimisation and characterisation of hydrochar production from spent coffee grounds by hydrothermal carbonisation. Renewable Energy, 147 (1), pp. 1380 – 1391.



I contribute to the Water Engineering Development Centre (WEDC) postgraduate (campus-based and DL) teaching and learning activities including:


  • Appropriate Sewerage and Sewage Treatment
  • Urban Sanitation Management
  • Household and Communal Sanitation Engineering
  • Environmental Assessment (Module Leader)
  • Urban Infrastructure  
  • Research Dissertation


Short courses 

  • Water, hygiene and sanitation for health’: Biannual 2-week training course for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (i.e. Doctors without Borders)



I obtained a First-Class (Hons.) B.Eng. in Agricultural (now Agricultural and Environmental) Engineering from the FUTA, Nigeria in 2008. I subsequently completed my MSc with Distinction (2011) and PhD (2015), both at Loughborough University, UK. Since joining Loughborough University in 2010, I have worked on several research and development projects including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Re-invent (Phase 2 and 3) Toilet Challenge project. 

I lead/contribute to taught modules for both campus-based and distance learning postgraduate students. I also supervise PhD students and MSc research dissertation projects andcurrently serve on the School’s Wellbeing Committee. I am currently leading a Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Engineering for Development Research Fellowship, awarded in 2019 on “Advanced Technological Synergy to Renewable Energy Production in sub-Saharan Africa”. 

Professional Affiliations/Certifications

  • Chartered Member, Chartered Institute of Waste and Environmental Management (CIWEM)
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner Certificate in Project Management 
  • MSP Practitioner Certificate in Programme Management


  • Research Fellowship Award, 2019
  • PTDF, International Doctoral Scholarship, 2014 
  • Young Researchers’ Award, RSC Travel Grant, 2012
  • Best Presentation (Oral & Poster), COGER International Conference, UK, 2012
  • Doctoral Research Studentship, Loughborough University, UK, 2011
  • DFID/Commonwealth Shared Scholarship UK, 2010 
  • Four University Prize Awards, 2008 including: 
    • Best Graduating Student, Department of Agricultural Engineering
    • Best Graduating Student, School of Engineering & Engineering Technology

External activities

  • Expert Paper Reviewer for several international journals including Environmental Management, Applied Energy, Utility Policy, Energy

Key collaborators/stakeholders

  • RAEng
  • BMGF
  • International universities: UCAD (Senegal), ABU (Nigeria), Toronto (Canada), CQU (China)
  • Consultants: Alvan Blanch, LEAP Micro AD (UK); Berkeley Air (USA), SENEngineering (Senegal)
  • Government agencies: Environment Agency (UK), PNB-SN (Senegal)