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EPA Awards Grant to Loyola University Chicago for Innovative Technology Project

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Joshua Singer (

WASHINGTON (March 22, 2018) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $15,000 for a Phase I student team from Loyola University Chicago through the People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) grants program.

EPA announced over $463,000 in funding nationwide for 31 Phase I student teams through the People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) grants program. These teams, made up of college students from across the country, are developing sustainable technologies to solve current environmental and public health challenges.

Loyola University Chicago’s P3 project will advance its sustainability goals, which include creating a zero-waste and carbon-neutral urban campus by 2025, by producing renewable energy from organic solid waste and thereby reducing carbon emissions. An interdisciplinary team of students and faculty will bring their unique expertise on energy innovation, economics, and pollution reduction potential to the project, in a collaborative effort to solve this sustainability challenge.

“This year’s P3 teams are applying their classroom learning to create valuable, cutting-edge technologies,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This next generation of scientists is designing sustainable solutions that will help protect public health and the environment and ensure America continues to lead the world in innovation and science for decades to come.”

 “EPA’s P3 program empowers students and scientists to put theories into practice,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp. “Winners of these competitive grants should be proud for using their educations to protect the environment and public health.”

 “Our team of Loyola University Chicago, Institute of Environmental Sustainability students, researchers, and staff are honored to have received a 2017 EPA P3 grant: Anaerobic digestion for a zero-waste urban campus. The P3 grant supports 8 undergraduate students' research into producing renewable energy from campus organic waste via anaerobic digestion while re-purposing byproducts as a fertilizer for our urban agriculture program, effectively eliminating organic solid waste from our campus. This project advances our efforts to find solutions to the challenge of sustainably managing organic waste as we move toward a zero-waste, carbon-neutral campus,” said Shane Lishawa, Research Associate at Loyola University Chicago.

Funding for the P3 competition is divided into two phases. Teams selected for Phase I awards receive grants of up to $15,000 to fund the proof of concept for their projects, which are then showcased at the National Sustainable Design Expo. The 2018 Expo is scheduled to be held at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC, April 7-8. Phase I teams are eligible to compete for Phase II awards of up to $75,000 to further develop and implement their designs. 

Grantees include student teams from the following universities:

  • Case Western Reserve University – Cleveland, Ohio
  • Cornell University – Ithaca, N.Y.
  • Georgia Technology Research Corporation – Atlanta, Ga.
  • Kansas State University – Manhattan, Kan.
  • Kennesaw State University – Kennesaw, Ga.
  • Loyola University of Chicago – Chicago, Ill.
  • Mercer University – Macon, Ga.
  • Michigan Technological University – Houghton, Mich.
  • Montana State University, Bozeman – Bozeman, Mont.
  • North Dakota State University – Fargo, N.D.
  • Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, Okla.
  • Old Dominion University Research Foundation – Norfolk, Va.
  • Purdue University – West Lafayette, Ind.
  • The Sage Colleges – Albany, N.Y.
  • University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • University of California, Davis – Davis, Calif.
  • University of California, Riverside – Riverside, Calif.
  • University of Central Florida – Orlando, Fla.
  • University of Delaware – Newark, Del. 
  • University of Kentucky – Lexington, Ky.
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County – Baltimore, Md.
  • University of Massachusetts, Lowell – Lowell, Mass.
  • University of Miami – Coral Gables, Fla.
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor – Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • University of Oklahoma – Norman, Okla.
  • University of Southern California – Los Angeles, Calif.
  • University of Texas at Arlington – Arlington, Texas
  • University of Washington – Seattle, Wash.
  • Utah State University – Logan, Utah
  • Wayne State University – Detroit, Mich.

These students, who represent the future workforce in diverse scientific and engineering fields, are following in the footsteps of previous P3 teams. Some of these teams have gone on to start businesses based on ideas and products developed through their P3 project. For example, Sunn began as a team of students from Cornell University that won a P3 award in 2012 to design and test a Fiber Optic Hybrid Lighting system. Sunn now creates energy-efficient LED light fixtures and apps that mimic outdoor light, inside. In 2007, a P3 team from Drexel University developed a Bubble Column Reactor which used fatty acids gathered from grease-trap waste at wastewater management plants to create biodiesel. This technology formed the foundation for Environmental Fuel Research, LLC.

Projects from this year’s P3 teams include innovative ideas like harnessing solar power to disinfect drinking water and using beetles as a way to degrade Styrofoam waste.

To learn more about the projects of the 2017 Phase I winners, visit:

For more information on the P3 Program, visit: