News/Events

Climate change, environmental issues rarely covered in introductory science textbooks

April 30, 2018

As an ASU graduate student, Rachel Yoho wanted to push the boundaries of renewable energy research. What she didn’t fully anticipate is that it would also lead her to questioning how climate change is taught in today’s universities. In the Biodesign Center for Environmental Biotechnology, led by director and ASU Regents’ Professor (and recent Stockholm Water Prize winner) Bruce Rittmann, she found a welcome home to make her research thrive. There, she focused on microbes that were...

Using bacteria to produce electricity, treat wastewater

March 14, 2016

ASU Now reports, “What if the bacteria found in wastewater could power the water’s own purification system? Chemical engineering professor Cesar Torres is exploring this possibility through research in microbial fuel cells (MFCs), supported in large part by a $1.9 million grant from the Department of Defense." Torres is researching energy efficient wastewater treatment that harnesses the energy released from microorganisms and converts it into electricity. Click here to read...

Microbial managers converge on Tempe for international conference

October 6, 2015

On October 1-4, Arizona State University’s Tempe campus hosted ISMET2015, the 5th International Meeting on Microbial Electrochemistry and Technologies. The event featured some 60 talks on diverse aspects of a dynamic new field in which the electrochemical properties of microbial life are brought to bear on a range of human challenges, including wastewater treatment, the generation of clean electricity and the production of useful compounds. Cesar Torres, PhD, was this year’s...

Bacterial boost for clean energy

March 26, 2013

Bacteria are often associated with their disease-causing capacity or alternatively, with their role as normal residents of the human body, where they perform duties essential to health.  Joseph Miceli, a researcher at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, studies specialized microorganisms known as anode respiring bacteria (ARB). Rather than investigating their role in health and disease however, his research explores the ability of these microbes to clean up waste and produce useful energy in...

National group selects ASU engineer as year's leading young Hispanic researcher

October 1, 2012

Arizona State University chemical engineer César Torres is the winner of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) 2012 Young Investigator Award. The honor recognizes his contributions to bioenergy research. Torres is an assistant professor at the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. His research is conducted in the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at ASU’s Biodesign Institute. “We look...

Waste to Watts: Improving Microbial Fuel Cells

July 5, 2012

Some of the planet’s tiniest inhabitants may help address two of society’s biggest environmental challenges:  how to deal with the vast quantities of organic waste produced and where to find clean, renewable energy.  According to César Torres and Sudeep Popat, researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, certain kinds of bacteria are adept at converting waste into useful energy.  These microorganisms are presently being applied to the task, through an...

New insights into fuel cell that uses bacteria to generate electricity from waste

January 3, 2008

Researchers at the Biodesign Institute are using the tiniest organisms on the planet —bacteria— as a viable option to make electricity. In a new study featured in the journal Biotechnology and Bioengineering, lead author Andrew Kato Marcus and colleagues César Torres and Bruce Rittmann have gained critical insights that may lead to commercialization of a promising microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology. “We can use any kind of waste, such as sewage or pig manure, and the microbial fuel...