Canadian Student is Converting Waste into Electricity Using Microbial Fuel Cells.

Fuel Cell Research by 18-Year-Old Gets Top Prize in Intel Science Fair


Can you convert organic waste into energy using microbial fuel cells? Well this teen did!

Han Jie (Austin) Wang of Vancouver, Canada dominated this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, with his research on the development of microbial fuel cells (MFC) to convert organic waste more efficiently into electricity. His research won him the first place Gordon E. Moore Award, with a US$ 75,000 prize.

Wang identified specific genes in genetically enhanced E. coli bacteria which were the key to the much efficient organic waste-to-electricity conversion. The system he created can produce significantly more power than existing MFC processes, with a cost comparable to solar energy.


Austin Wang (center) with second place winners Kathy Liu (left), 17, from Salt Lake City, Utah and Syamantak Payra (right), 15, from Friendswood Texas. Source: Intel

His research bested other 1,700 young scientists’ researches which were featured in the science fair. They were selected from 419 affiliate affairs in 77 countries, regions, and territories. Awards were also given to 22 “Best of Category” winners, which received US$5,000 each. They are the following:

CategoryFirstLastCityState/Country
Animal SciencesRiverGraceMelbourneFlorida
Behavioral and Social SciencesRajeevJhaHonoluluHawaii
BiochemistryEdwardKimWacoTexas
Biomedical EngineeringLuizda Silva BorgesAquidauanaBrazil
Biomedical and Health SciencesJiwooLeeHackensackNew Jersey
Cellular and Molecular BiologyMarissaSumathipalaAshburnVirginia
ChemistryKathrynLawrenceBoulderColorado
KatherineYounglove
Computational Biology and BioinformaticsSwethaRevanurSan JoseCalifornia
Earth and Environmental SciencesNatalieBushBaton RougeLouisiana
Embedded SystemsSyamantakPayraFriendswoodTexas
Energy: ChemicalKathyLiuSalt Lake CityUtah
Energy: PhysicalTiashaJoardarPlanoTexas
Engineering MechanicsTakahiroIchigeChiba CityJapan
Environmental EngineeringWyattPontiusSterlingVirginia
Materials ScienceNickyWojtaniaPlanoTexas
MathematicsPei-HsaunChangTaipei CityChinese Taipei
MicrobiologyHan Jie (Austin)WangVancouverCanada
Physics and AstronomyCamilleYokeRichmondVirginia
Plant SciencesDennisDrewnikWinnipegCanada
Robotics and Intelligent MachinesSimoneBraunsteinNew YorkNew York
Systems SoftwareCharlesNoyesVilla ParkCalifornia
Translational Medical ScienceBrennanClarkGolden ValleyMinnesota

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Canadian Student is Converting Waste into Electricity Using Microbial Fuel Cells.

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