CAL Student Wins Prestigious Technology Prize

October 28, 2010

Iain Clark has won the prestigious 2010 International Huber Technology Prize in Munich, Germany, for his research on removing contaminants from groundwater. Clark, an Environmental Engineering Ph.D. student, competed in a contest entitled “Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment — New Solutions to Old Problems.” Iain works with Professor John D. Coates in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology and Professor Slav Hermanowicz in the Department of Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley.

Safe water is often taken for granted, but truly is a rare commodity in many parts of the world. Iain Clark’s third place prize, which came with an award of $2,000 Euro, presents an energy-efficient bioreactor for removing undesirable materials from groundwater, including perchlorate and nitrate. The reactor stimulates microbial reduction of these compounds using electricity.

Many students from Germany and throughout the world attended the conference in late September, entitled “The Huber Technology Prize 2010: Future Water”. Participants submitted their ideas, proposals and elaborate projects, all focusing on ways to create, deliver and maintain a fresh and safe water supply.

The award was presented by representatives of the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment in an official ceremony in Munich, Germany at an environmental technology trade fair. At the fair, Iain presented a poster, "Bio-electrically Stimulated Microbial Oxyanion Reduction," describing a method of electrochemically fueling microbial reduction of perchlorate, nitrate, and other oxyanions in groundwater.

First prize winner was Dr. Paritam Kumar Dutta of the University of Queensland, who won $5,000 Euro for a proposal on an energy-efficient method for the removal of sulfide from wastewater, and its recovery as a valuable material. Second prize went to Dr. Kilian Langenbach of the Technical University of Munich, who won $3,000 to research that provides the scientific basis to better understand the processes going on in slow sand filters, and improve their dimensioning in the future.