Bruce E. Logan

The main focus of the Logan lab is the development of new renewable energy technologies, such as microbial fuel cells and thermal batteries, for achieving an energy sustainable water infrastructure. Logan and his collaborators have: invented a method for sustainable hydrogen production using microbial electrolysis cells (MECs), a method for water desalination that does not require electrical energy from the grid or high pressures called microbial desalination cells, reactors to harness salinity gradient energy in micorobial reverse electrodialysis cells (MRCs), and improved direct bioelectricity generation by several orders of magnitude in microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Recently, a new method of capturing waste heat was invented based on using waste heat to distill ammonia out of water, and to use ammonia to generate power in a flow battery (website under development). Other research has included the discovery of how large aggregates form in the ocean, called marine snow, that can help to sequester carbon to deep sediments; and molecular and nanoscale techniques to study particle dynamics and microbial adhesion in engineered and natural systems; microbial adhesion and transport.    

Logan is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the International Water Association and the Water Environment Foundation. He is an investigator with KAUST (Saudi Arabia), a former Franqui International Chair at Ghent University (2013, Belgium); and a visiting professor at Newcastle University (UK), Tsinghua University, Harbin Institute of Technology, and Dalian University of Technology (China). Link to his full CV.              

BioEnergy Research

The US uses about 3.3 terra watts (TW) of energy, and produces 500 gigawatts (GW) of electricity. New sources of energy are needed. Using other types of fossil fuels is possible, but fossilized sources will continue to increase releases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. For these reasons, the Logan lab is developing new bioenergy technologies with a focus on systems that can help sustain the global need for potable water and sanitation to protect human health, even as oil and other fossil fuels become less available and more costly.

Microbial Fuel Cell Research 

Renewable and clean forms of energy are one of society's greatest needs. More urgently, 2 billion people lack adequate sanitation. The Logan lab is working to address both energy and water needs through the development of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) for electricty produciton, and microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) for biofuel (hydrogen and methane gas) production. The production of electricity or biofuels is important to sustainable wastewater treatment as 5% of electricity produced in the USA is used for the water infrastructure (all aspects, including pumping, treatment, etc.), with 3% used for wastewater treatment alone.              

... Bioenergy Research  ... More on MFCs ...... More on MECs 

Conversion of Waste Heat to Electricity

Power plants are typically only 33% efficient, with much of the energy lost as waste heat, as the temperatures are too low for conventional electricity production using turbines. One method of capturing waste heat is to produce salinity differences using waste heat, for example by using thermal salts such as ammonium bicarbonate in reverse electrodialysis (RED) stacks for direct electricity production. RED stacks can be used alone or incorporated into MFCs and MECs. Another method recently developed in the Logan lab is to use waste heat to distill ammonia from solution, and to add it into a metal salt, aqueous solution such as copper nitrate. With ammonia solutions, electricity can be produced in flow batteries (website under construction). Links to papers on this topic: Energy & Environmental Science; and ChemSusChem.

Link to our new website


News from Logan's Lab!


New website: Energy from water
: MFC power densities, in ES&T Letters. Link to paper
Publications (pdf): Google scholar citations link. Orchid ID: 0000-0001-7478-8070

  The Logan lab- Short video on what we do.
Videos: See presentations by Bruce Logan at different locations.
ISMET! Find out more about ISMET- International Society of MIcrobial Electrochemical Technologies
Review papers: in Science (MFCs) & Nature (Salinity gradient energy) in 2012
Videos on YouTube
Check out the MFC-cam
"Microbial Fuel Cells" book by B.E. Logan
Make one! Make your own MFC

Departmental & Institute  Information:
Evan Pugh Professor, and Kappe Professor: Environmental Engineering,
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Engineering Energy & Environmental Institute
Director: Hydrogen Energy (H2E) Center

Using the Links:  The Research page contains links to pages that describe my research interests by topic.  The  Publications link contains a listing of all ongoing and past research projects at Penn State by the Logan group.  Copies of journal papers and other publication can be downloaded here. The Teaching link give a list of researchers (individual and group) in the Logan group, and for course information, go to the Courses page.

Click here to access Powerpoint presentations on subjects such as microbial fuel cells, perchlorate bioremediation, the HBOD test, trickling filters, particles, fractals and others.

Bruce E. Logan |  Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering | 231Q Sackett Building
Phone: 814-863-7908 | Fax: 814-863-7304 
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802