The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) has announced that environmental biotechnologist Bruce Logan of Pennsylvania State University is the 16th recipient of the NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. Logan was selected because of his innovative efforts to generate clean, renewable forms of energy during the treatment of wastewater.

NWRI established the Clarke Prize in 1993 to recognize outstanding research scientists who have demonstrated excellence in water-science research and technology. The prize, which includes a medallion and $50,000 award, is presented annually.

Five percent of the electricity generated in the United States is used for water infrastructure, such as powering treatment plant processes. In developing nations, the energy needed to power water infrastructure often is cost-prohibitive, leaving millions of people without adequate supplies of water or sanitation. In response, Logan has taken the initiative on developing an energy-sustainable water infrastructure for both industrialized and developing nations. The new technologies pioneered by Logan have made it possible to directly generate energy from organic matter (or, decaying compounds) found in wastewater. These technologies have the potential not only to transform wastewater treatment plants into self-sufficient power plants, but also to produce excess power for the broader community.