Jun 24, 2013

EPA Recognizes Students for Sustainable Environmental Solutions

Seven university teams received awards for solutions to health, environmental challenges

EPA P3 Student Award Winners

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that seven university and college teams received the P3 Award for their innovative solutions to some of today’s toughest public health and environmental challenges.

EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) award competition was held at the ninth annual National Sustainable Design Expo. Each award-winning team qualifies to receive a grant of up to $90,000 to further develop its design and potentially bring it to the marketplace. Previous P3 award winners have started successful businesses and are globally marketing their technologies.

Winners of this year’s awards are:

  • Loyola University of Chicago for developing a greener way, through a wetland and a distillation process, to treat and reuse byproducts of biodiesel;
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell for creating nontoxic, biodegradable surfactants from fruit peels and algae, and seeing how they are effective;
  • Radford University for designing a naturally occurring coating that would allow sand to absorb water pollutants, such as arsenic and cadmium;
  • San Jose State University for using sawdust instead of plastic to create inexpensive building materials, customized for local climates, with 3D printer technology;
  • Georgia Southern University for further innovating the low-temperature combustion diesel engine to operate on locally sourced n-buthanol and cottonseed oil, thus designing a diesel engine that could create even lower NOx and soot emissions;
  • Cornell University for designing a simple, low-cost, lower-maintenance water filtration device for Honduras communities using a stacked rapid sand filter; and
  • Cornell University for evaluating and improving cook stove fuel resources in Kenyan communities by burning solid fuel without oxygen, which can create biochar for soil enrichment.

This year’s competition featured approximately 300 student innovators showcasing their sustainable projects designed to protect people’s health, the environment, encourage economic growth and use natural resources more efficiently. A panel of expert judges convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science recommended the winners out of 45 teams following two days of judging. The teams that competed this year proposed potential solutions to worldwide environmental problems including many in  developing countries.