EPA Awards Grants to 21 Student Teams for Innovative Technology Projects

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced more than $300,000 in funding for 21 teams of undergraduate and graduate students across the country through its People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) grants program. The teams are receiving funding to develop sustainable technologies to help solve environmental and public health challenges.

"EPA's P3 grants program supports the next generation of scientists and engineers," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "These students are able to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real-world environmental problems that require innovative solutions.

"The P3 competition challenges students to research, develop, and design innovative projects that address a myriad of environmental protection and public health issues. The Phase I teams will receive grants of up to $15,000 each to fund the proof of concept for their projects. This year's teams are focused on topics like investigating degradation and removal mechanisms for Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in water treatment, developing inexpensive technology to reduce indoor and outdoor air pollutants from woodstoves, building a model to quantify the extent of untreated raw sewage discharges from homes, and developing a sensor that can determine low levels of lead at terminal plumbing sources such as faucets.Grantees include student teams from the following universities:

  • Brown University - Providence, R.I.
    • Magnetic Nanocomposites for Water Remediation
  • Cornell University - Ithaca, N.Y.
    •  AguaClara's Ram Pump for Zero Electricity Drinking Water Treatment
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology - Newark, N.J.
    • Development of Reactive Nanobubble Systems for Efficient and Scalable Harmful Algae and Cyanotoxin Removal
    • Reactive Electrochemical Membrane (REM) Filtration for PFOA/PFOS Removal
  • Drexel University - Philadelphia, Pa.
    •  Mapping Air Quality with Kite-Based Sensors
  • Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, Pa.
    • Iron-TAML/Peroxide Cyanotoxin Degradation
  • Widener University - Chester, Pa.
    • Developing Low-Cost Wireless Device for Real Time Monitoring of Lead Levels in Drinking Water
  • Virginia Wesleyan University - Norfolk, Va.
    • Vericompost from Phytoremediation of Stormwater
  • The University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Ala.
    •  Modeling Straight Pipe Prevalence in Rural Alabama
  • University of Central Florida - Orlando, Fla.
    • A Biopolymer-based Simple Lead Check in Tap Water
    • OSMOsis - Driven Reclamation of Water (OSMODRAW)
  • East Tennessee State University - Johnson City, Tenn.
    • Mesoporous Adsorbents for Perfluorinated Compounds
  • Miami University - Oxford, Ohio
    • Synthesis and Characterization of Fluorinated Hydrocarbon Anion Exchange Resins for the Extraction of Perfluorinated Chemicals
    •  UV-LED Photocatalytic Fuel Vapor Emissions Control
  • University of Saint Thomas - St Paul, Minn.
    • Soil amendments for enhanced phosphorus retention: Implications for green infrastructure design
  • Illinois State University - Normal, Ill.
    •  Recycled Glass: Cement/Fly Ash Substitute in CLSM
  • Southern Illinois University - Carbondale, Ill.
    • PFASs Removal by Photocatalysis for Water Reuse
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio - San Antonio, Texas
    • Molecular Tools to Predict Cyanobacteria Toxin Production
  • University of California Riverside - Riverside, Calif.,
    • Multi-Sensor Fusion for Low-Cost, Automated Woodstoves
    • A Green Chemistry Approach to Pulping Hemp as an Industrially Relevant Renewable Fiber for Construction
  • University of Oregon - Eugene, Ore.
    • Sanitary Green Space: A Closed-looped sanitation system for growing green communities

The Phase I recipients will attend the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo in Boston, Mass., on June 17-18, 2019, to showcase their research. They can then apply for a Phase II grant that provides funding up to $100,000 to further the project design.

These students, who represent the future workforce in diverse scientific and engineering fields, are following in the footsteps of other P3 teams. Some of these teams have gone on to start businesses based on ideas and products developed through their P3 project. In 2018, a previous P3 Phase I awardee from Oklahoma State University (OSU) leveraged P3 funding to initiate their research to develop a cost-effective approach to enhance energy efficiency in wastewater treatment. In furthering their P3 project, OSU transformed the research into a business plan and won the Queen's Entrepreneurs' Competition with its startup business plan for Contraire, a predictive analysis control system designed to provide near real-time wastewater test measurements. Amongst 15 other teams, OSU pitched their business plan to a panel of Canadian business leaders and received multiple inquiries from investors.


Learn more about the P3 projects
Source: U.S. EPA