The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced nearly $75,000 in funding for five student teams through its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grants program. The teams from Miami University-Ohio, University of Saint Thomas, Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University 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.”
“EPA’s P3 grants help students apply their knowledge to solve some of today’s pressing environmental and public health concerns,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp.
EPA’s P3 grants program supports the next generation of scientists and engineers
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.
Grantees include student teams from the following universities:
- Miami University – Oxford, Ohio: A student team from Miami University will use a novel UV-LED photocatalytic process to reduce or eliminate evaporative fuel vapor emissions from automobiles.
- Miami University – Oxford, Ohio.: A student team from Miami Univerity will design and test a continuous-flow water purification device that uses a novel fluorinated anion exchange sorbent for removal of perfluoroalkyl compounds including perfluorooctansulfonic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOS) from drinking water.
- University of Saint Thomas – St Paul, Minn.: A student team from University of Saint Thomas will use a bioretention filter system to test the most effective soil amendments for phosphorus and nitrogen retention.. The findings can be used to increase the effectiveness of bioretention as a green infrastructure approach.
- Illinois State University – Normal, Ill.: A student team from Illinois State University is investigating the use of recycled glass as a unique construction material that has the potential to accelerate broader adoption of recycled glass as a cement/fly ash substitute.
- Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Ill.: A student team from Southern Illinois University will study using photocatalysis to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from wastewater effluent so that it can be reused in agriculture, which otherwise may bring potential adverse impacts on crops and human health.
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.