Bioenergy and Kappe Environmental Engineering Laboratories

The main focus of the Bioenergy and Kappe Environmental Engineering Laboritories is the development of new renewable energy technologies such as microbial fuel cells and thermal batteries for achieving an energy sustainable water infrastructure.

Bruce 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. Other research in the laboratories include the exploration 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.

Current research focuses in the lab include:

  • Bioenergy production using exoelectrogenic microorganims
  • Renewable energy production using waste heat and salinity gradient energy
  • Environmental and chemical transport processes
  • Bioremediation
  • Biological wastewater treatment

Contact Information



The Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering, established in 1948, is recognized as one of the largest and most influential chemical engineering departments in the nation.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry.

Department of Chemical Engineering

119 Greenberg Complex

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2574