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Board # 154 : Microbial Fuel Cell Development and Testing for Implementing Environmental Engineering Education in High Schools

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Bradley A. Striebig James Madison University

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Dr. Striebig is a founding faculty member and first full professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. Dr. Striebig came to the JMU School of from Gonzaga University where he developed the WATER program in cooperation with other faculty members. Dr. Striebig is also the former Head of the Environmental Technology Group at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory. In addition to Dr’ Striebig’s engineering work, he is also a published freelance photographer who has works with local and international NGOs. Dr. Striebig was the founding editor of the Journal of Engineering for Sustainable Development and an assistant editor for the Journal of Green Building.

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Microbial Fuel Cell Development and Testing for Implementing Environmental Engineering Education in High Schools


Developing nations have limited or non-existent access to reliable electricity and clean water. A reliable electricity source could power valuable devices, like communication or water purification mechanisms. Finding a way to remove harmful pathogens from their wastewater is vital to the health of residents. This paper will focus on the development of a microbial fuel cell (MFC) system for developing communities. The MFC system will utilize a simulated waste stream resulting from existing food processing activities and potentially provide both a modest amount of stable electricity for local use.

High school students have utilized the environmental science and engineering principle that control the MFC system to design, build and test Microbial Fuel Cells made form simple materials. The MFC captures the electrons produced by the bacteria while they break down the waste in the water. The students evaluated MFC designs in the lab to find an affordable design that both efficiently generates power and effectively treats the water. The long-term goal of the project is to implement a MFC at the Songhai Center in Porto-Novo, Benin, which can then help implement the design in other developing nations through its connections with the UN and the ECOWAS countries. The MFC system could produce reliable electricity from waste while simultaneously cleaning water. This paper describes the processes used by students, teachers and faculty to bring environmental engineering design into the high school science classroom.

Striebig, B. A. (2017, June), Board # 154 : Microbial Fuel Cell Development and Testing for Implementing Environmental Engineering Education in High Schools Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27783

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