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Engineering professor recognized for impact on environmental conservation

Bruce Rittmann in lab
February 04, 2014

Outstanding contributions to environmental conservation have earned ASU Regents’ Professor Bruce Rittmann an award from American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES).

The award, administered by the National Audubon Society and bestowed jointly with the AAES, was established to recognize “an individual who encourages cooperation between engineering professionals and environmentalists to create innovative solutions to environmental problems.”

The citation for the organization’s 2014 Joan Hodges Queneau Palladium Medal recognizes Rittmann for “contributions to cleanup of contaminated water, soils and ecosystems” that are “unprecedented in scope and impact.”

The association acknowledges his accomplishments as “a pioneer in the development of biofilm fundamentals and the holder of five patents related to membrane biofilm reactor technology” for their impact on environmental conservation.

Rittmann is on the faculty of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He is also director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at ASU’s Biodesign Institute.

He is a leading expert in development of microbial systems to capture renewable resources and alleviate environmental pollution. His research combines microbiology, biochemistry, geochemistry and microbial ecology for restoring water purity and generating usable energy from waste products.

“His lifetime body of work has made important contributions to environmental protection and improved the technologies for water and wastewater treatment and hazardous waste management, and provided useful insights into the new and emerging field of biotechnology and bioenergy,” Rao Y. Surampalli wrote in nominating Rittmann for the award. Surampalli is the Academician and Engineer Director for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Rittmann’s award will be formally presented in April at the AAES annual reception and awards recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Written by Mayank Prasad