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EPA Awards Three Universities in the Southeast with Grants to Develop Innovative Environmental Solutions

Release Date: 04/26/2012
Contact Information: Dawn Harris Young, (404) 562-8421,

ATLANTA The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded three universities in the southeast with the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Phase grants at the 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Nationally, the grants were awarded to 15 teams of college and university students across the country.

Each P3 award-winning team will receive a grant of up to $90,000 to further develop their design, apply it to real world applications or move it to the marketplace. Previous P3 award winners have started successful businesses and are marketing the technologies in the U.S. and around the world.

Winners of this year’s awards include:

    Appalachian State University, NC for developing an artificial wetland suitable for recycling of grey water from small businesses for immediate reuse.

    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, FL for designing a foldable solar power water purification system that can fit into a backpack for easy transport for use after a disaster affecting drinking ether supply.
      Vanderbilt University, TN for developing a biohybrid solar panel that substitutes a protein from spinach for rare metals (mined) and is capable of producing electricity.

      Honorable Mention winners of this year’s competition include:

      Christian Brothers University, TN for developing technologies to improve energy efficiency in the building envelope of residencies in Memphis, Tennessee, that focus on the thermal properties of materials, fire safety, material stability and cost.

      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC for creating and implementing a point-of-view disinfectant for drinking water that is cheap, non-toxic and effective in reducing waterborne illness in developing nations.

      EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) award competition was held at the expo, and featured more than 300 college innovators showcasing their sustainable projects designed to protect the environment, encourage economic growth and use natural resources more efficiently.

      Following an initial peer review process, this year’s winners were selected from 45 competing teams after two days of judging by a panel of national experts convened to provide recommendations to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. EPA selected the award-winning projects from the most competitive pool of teams ever, basing their decisions on the potential to provide innovative, cutting-edge sustainable solutions to worldwide environmental problems.

      More information on the P3 award competition:

      More information on the P3 program: