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Seven Universities in the Southeast Helping the Planet to Profit

Release Date: 11/14/2008
Contact Information: Laura Niles, (404) 562-8353,

(Atlanta, Ga. – November 14, 2008) Student teams across the Southeast are putting their minds together for sustainability, thanks to EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) program, which demonstrates that protecting the environment can also be economically profitable. The P3 program provides key technical assistance in moving the developed and developing world toward sustainability. EPA awarded 10 P3 grants to seven universities in the Southeast for a total of approximately $100,000 to student teams.

“The beauty of the People, Prosperity and the Planet program is that it harnesses one of our most abundant natural resources: student brain power,” said Dr. George Gray, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. ”Through innovation and creativity, these student teams turn environmental challenges into opportunities that protect the environment, build new businesses, and create new careers.”

As part of the 43 P3 Phase I grants and six Phase II grants awarded nationally to winning teams from last year, a team from Appalachian State University is designing a coffee wastewater treatment system that produces ethanol and bio-gas for possible use as car fuels. A team from the University of Florida has designed a low-tech, low-cost system that improves upon a standard reservoir design to filter and purify stored rainfall year round for the village of Sissene, Burkina Faso in Western Africa. The seven universities in the Southeast receiving P3 grants are:

  • Appalachian State University (2)
  • Austin Peay State University
  • Kentucky State University
  • University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa
  • University of Florida (2)
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville (2)

An American Association for the Advancement of Science panel will evaluate the projects and make recommendations to EPA, who will choose the winners. The P3 Award includes the possibility of additional funding up to $75,000 that gives students an opportunity to further develop their sustainable designs and move them to the marketplace. The next P3 Award Competition will be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Sustainable Design Expo, April 18-20, 2009.

Information about the P3 winners and their projects:

More about EPA’s P3 Award program: