Lecture: 'Using Microbes to Make Electricity and Clean Water' Jan. 23

A free public lecture titled "Not Science Fiction: Using Microbes to Make Electricity and Clean Water" will be given on Jan. 23, at Penn State's University Park campus by Bruce Logan, the Kappe professor of environmental engineering at Penn State.

The event is the first of six lectures in the 2010 Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science series, a free minicourse for the general public with the theme "Water: The Next Frontier." No registration is required. The lectures take place on six consecutive Saturday mornings from 11 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. in room 100 of the Thomas Building. More information is on the Web at http://www.science.psu.edu/alert/frontiers/.

Logan will describe how his lab is harnessing an unusual energy resource -- the organic matter in wastewater -- to generate both electricity and clean water. His lecture will include a tour of new research on a fascinating variety of fuel cell technologies that are designed to produce electricity, hydrogen, and other energy sources directly from wastes. This research could lead to the transformation of today's wastewater treatment plants into tomorrow's power plants.

A faculty member at Penn State since 1997, Logan directs Penn State's Hydrogen Energy Center. He wrote "Microbial Fuel Cells," the first textbook about this technology. His research achievements have been recognized with awards including the 2009 Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize from the National Water Research Institute, 2008 Award for Meritorious Service from the National Hydrogen Association, the Excellence in Review Award from the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the Frank Annunzio Award from the the Christopher Columbus Foundation, the 2005 Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics magazine, the 2004 Paul L. Busch Award from the Water Environment Research Foundation Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research, the Association of Environmental Engineering Professors/Malcolm Pirnie Frontier of Research Award and the Premier Research Award from the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society.  He was named one of the "Nation's Top 50 Trendsetters" by Public Works magazine in 2006.

Logan serves on the National Hydrogen Association's board of directors and is a Global Research Partner with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. He also is a visiting professor at Harbin Institute of Technology in China and Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.

He received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a master's degree in environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

The Penn State Lectures on the Frontiers of Science is a program of the Penn State Eberly College of Science. The 2010 series is sponsored jointly by the Penn State Eberly College of Science and the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment. For more information or access assistance, contact the Eberly College of Science Office of Media Relations and Public Information by telephone at 814-863-0901 or by e-mail at science@psu.edu.

Last Updated November 18, 2010