Han Jie (Austin) Wang found specific genes in genetically improved E. coli bacteria that allowed them to produce power efficiently.

Wang believes that his MFC is much more a viable option, generating more power than existing MFC processes at a cost that is competitive with solar energy,

Another price was awarded to Kathy Liu, 17 from Salt Lake City, Utah. She received $50,000 for developing an alternative battery component that can improve the battery performance and safety significantly.

The new battery is lighter and smaller than the conventional lithium-ion batteries which are used in mobile phones, hoverboards, planes and on many other electronic devices.

Intel Corporation corporate affairs director, human resources vice president and Intel Foundation president Rosalind Hudnell said: "Intel congratulates this year’s winners and hopes that their work will inspire other young innovators to apply their curiosity and ingenuity to today’s global challenges.

"This international science and engineering exhibition is an excellent example of what can be achieved when students from different backgrounds, perspectives and geographies come together to share ideas and solutions."

The 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair featured more than 1700 budding scientists from 419 affiliates in 77 countries. Apart from the top three winners, there were about 600 finalists who also received awards for their innovative research.

Image: Top three award winners of The 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Photo: Courtesy of Intel/Shawn Morgan.