The U.S. EPA announced $99,998 in research grant funding to a team of students from the University of Alabama in Huntsville to develop a low-cost household water filter that removes PFAS.
The funding, through EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Program, will help promote clean drinking water supplies, particularly in small, rural, Tribal and disadvantaged communities.
“These students are leading the way when it comes to developing cutting-edge research to address PFAS, which is a top priority for our Agency and country,” said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “I’m excited to see how EPA’s P3 funding can support this potential solution to help ensure clean drinking water especially among our disadvantaged communities.”
The funding will support students from the University of Alabama in Huntsville as they study the use of a hybrid bio-based adsorbent technology for the point-of-use (POU) removal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in homes and offices. Given the widespread contamination of drinking water sources by PFAS, POU treatment can represent an inexpensive and immediate solution which may be particularly useful for small, rural, Tribal, and disadvantaged communities.
“PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water are a challenge for communities across the Southeast region and beyond,” said Acting EPA Region 4 Administrator, Jeaneanne Gettle. “We congratulate the University of Alabama’s student team in Huntsville on their project to develop a low-cost household water filter that removes PFAS. This promising research supports our goal of making sure everyone – including our most vulnerable populations – can access clean, safe drinking water.”
This award is part of EPA’s two-phase P3 grant competition for college students that offers hands-on experience that brings their classroom learning to life, while also allowing them to promote tangible changes in their communities. Phase I serve as a “proof of concept,” where teams are awarded a one-year grant of up to $25,000 to develop their idea. These teams are then eligible to compete for a Phase II grant of up to $100,000 to implement their design in a real-world setting.
The winning project from the team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville is one of five total P3 Phase II awards that were made under the same funding announcement. The other four winning projects were announced in 2022.