Arno de Klerk obtained his formal qualifications at the University of Pretoria (Pretoria, South Africa). He holds B. Eng., B. Eng. Hons. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering, as well as an M.Sc. degree in analytical chemistry. After obtaining his B. Eng. Degree in 1991, he started his career in forensic science at Forensic Science Laboratory of the South African Police in Pretoria. Initially he worked as analyst and later became manager of their precious metals analysis group.
In 1994 he moved to industry, joining Sasol as a process engineer in their Research and Development division based in Sasolburg. After a year he took an internal transfer to their refining catalysis department, where he was responsible for catalysis research, as well as laboratory and pilot plant design. He became a registered professional engineer in South Africa in 1999. In 2001 he was appointed as research manager of the Fischer-Tropsch Refinery Catalysis group, being responsible for catalysis research related to conversion processes for upgrading Fischer-Tropsch syncrude to fuels and chemicals. In this capacity he directed applied industrial research, as well as fundamental research in collaboration with various universities. In 2009 he relocated from South Africa to Canada and took up his present position at the University of Alberta. He is the Nexen Professor in Catalytic Reaction Engineering and the NSERC / Nexen-CNOOC Ltd Industrial Research Chair in Field Upgrading and Asphaltenes Processing. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Applied Petrochemical Research”.