Penn State microbial fuel cell scientist named KAUST Investigator

March 13, 2008

Bruce Logan, the Kappe professor of environmental engineering at Penn State, is one of 12 scientists to receive a Global Research Partnership (GRP) Investigator award from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Logan will receive up to $10 million over the next five years to investigate microbial fuel cell technologies that convert waste into electricity or hydrogen and in the process, clean water.

Through the GRP, KAUST, a new world-class, graduate-level research institution currently under development in Saudi Arabia, is providing individual research assistance to a group of highly accomplished scientists and engineers who are dedicated to a wide range of research topics of global significance with particular importance to Saudi Arabia and the region.

Their research includes issues such as water desalination, renewable and sustainable next-generation energy sources, genomics of salt-tolerant plants, durable and environmentally friendly construction materials, sustainable utility of hydrocarbons, low-cost high-efficiency solar technology and the application of computational science to human health and biotechnology.

Each Investigator is expected to spend between three weeks and three months per year on the KAUST campus in Saudi Arabia participating in the research and academic life of the institution.

Logan is a recognized leader in his field with a strong record of achievement. His KAUST research, "Energy for a Sustainable Water Infrastructure and Agriculture," aims to produce energy from wastewater. The microbial fuel cell process, which produces clean water, also produces energy by recovering it from organic matter in wastewater and agricultural wastes. This energy can be used for water desalinization, pumping or other applications.

He has also developed a related technology that produces pure hydrogen from organic waste.

Logan's work aims to create sustainable water and agricultural water practices that is in strong alignment with KAUST's focus on renewable energy and environmental technology. His website is at

His Excellency Minister Ali Ibrahim Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of KAUST, said, "We are pleased that these exceptionally talented individuals have chosen to partner with KAUST to bring their significant scientific and technological contributions to life. Their specific research will not only stimulate the growth of Saudi Arabia's emerging knowledge-based economy but also serve as a cornerstone of scientific advancement for the good of all people the world over."

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is being built in Saudi Arabia as an international, graduate-level research university dedicated to inspiring a new age of scientific achievement in the Kingdom, across the region and around the globe. As an independent, merit-based institution, KAUST will enable top researchers from around the globe and across all cultures to work together to solve challenging scientific and technological problems.

Under the GRP, there are three main programs: Investigators (individual scientists), Centers (multiple investigators), and Fellows (post-doctoral researchers). KAUST is expected to announce grants recipients for Centers and Fellows in the second quarter of 2008.

The core campus, located on more than 36 million square meters on the Red Sea at Thuwal, is set to open in September 2009. For more information about KAUST, visit

Penn State

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