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:

Category First Last City State/Country
Animal Sciences River Grace Melbourne Florida
Behavioral and Social Sciences Rajeev Jha Honolulu Hawaii
Biochemistry Edward Kim Waco Texas
Biomedical Engineering Luiz da Silva Borges Aquidauana Brazil
Biomedical and Health Sciences Jiwoo Lee Hackensack New Jersey
Cellular and Molecular Biology Marissa Sumathipala Ashburn Virginia
Chemistry Kathryn Lawrence Boulder Colorado
Katherine Younglove
Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Swetha Revanur San Jose California
Earth and Environmental Sciences Natalie Bush Baton Rouge Louisiana
Embedded Systems Syamantak Payra Friendswood Texas
Energy: Chemical Kathy Liu Salt Lake City Utah
Energy: Physical Tiasha Joardar Plano Texas
Engineering Mechanics Takahiro Ichige Chiba City Japan
Environmental Engineering Wyatt Pontius Sterling Virginia
Materials Science Nicky Wojtania Plano Texas
Mathematics Pei-Hsaun Chang Taipei City Chinese Taipei
Microbiology Han Jie (Austin) Wang Vancouver Canada
Physics and Astronomy Camille Yoke Richmond Virginia
Plant Sciences Dennis Drewnik Winnipeg Canada
Robotics and Intelligent Machines Simone Braunstein New York New York
Systems Software Charles Noyes Villa Park California
Translational Medical Science Brennan Clark Golden Valley Minnesota

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

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