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Bruce Rittmann, the Director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State, focuses his efforts on reclaiming contaminated water and producing renewable energy using microbes.
He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004 and credited with pioneering development of biofilm fundamentals and contributing to their widespread use in the bioremediation of contaminated ecosystems. His research combines many disciplines of science, including engineering, microbiology, biochemistry, geochemistry and microbial ecology. Formerly with Northwestern University, Rittmann is also a leader in the development of the Membrane Biofilm Reactor, an approach that uses bacteria to destroy pollutants in water. The Membrane Biofilm Reactor is especially effective for removing perchlorate from drinking water, and it is being launched commercially.
In this podcast, I talk with Dr. Rittmann about the biofilm reactor process, the electricity hiding in our wastewater, and how we may some day grow fuel on the roofs of buildings.