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University of Utah teams receive $15K each for Sustainable Technology Competition

Release Date: 12/04/2012
Contact Information: Dale Kemery,, 202-564-7839; Richard Mylott, 303-312-6654

EPA awards nearly $700K to student teams nationwide

(Denver, Colorado—December 4, 2012)  Two student-led projects at the University of Utah have received $15,000 each from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) annual student design competition.   These grants are among 45 totaling $675,000 awarded today to college teams across the nation to develop sustainable technologies to protect public health and the environment and promote economic development.

The annual P3 competition begins by awarding grants to student teams to develop and design their proposed technologies. The proposals highlight the team’s technology and its potential for improving quality of life, promoting economic development, and protecting the planet. The University of Utah student projects are summarized below.

Treatment and Recycling of Olive Mill Waste at Rural Olive Mills in the West Bank, Israel

The focus of this project is to design a waste treatment process for an olive mill in the village of Deir Abu Mashal in the West Bank. The University of Utah team will test and evaluate a treatment process which includes sand filtration, aerobic biological treatment of liquid waste, and composting of solid waste. Students from Birzeit University will assist the Utah team by characterizing the waste material, identifying locally available construction materials, and assessing the willingness of local mill owners to invest in the treatment process. The community will benefit from reduced groundwater, surface water and odor pollution, and the recycling of process outputs at the olive farm.

Visit the website below for more on this project:

Optimizing the Use of Biofuels in Cook Stoves for Improved Indoor Air Quality and Forest Sustainability in Rural Nepal 

This project will characterize local fuel sources and burning practices and assess indoor air quality and local capacity for stove fabrication.  The University of Utah team will evaluate heating efficiency, fuel consumption, and emissions of hazardous air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulates.  Training sessions will be developed to provide community members with information on how to reduce exposure to contaminants through the use and maintenance of cook-stoves. The expected results of this project are to develop the capacity for cook-stove fabrication and transition residents away from the use of open fires. The community will benefit from improved indoor and outdoor air quality and forest health.

Visit the website below for more on this project:

Other examples of EPA P3 team projects this year include:

    • A design for fog harvesting technologies to provide clean water and reduced pollution in underdeveloped communities
    • A prototype system to improve building energy performance through enhancing heat transmission and solar heat gain
    • A module that can improve the efficiency of solar energy collectors.
 “This year’s P3 teams are made up of emerging environmental leaders who are part of the future of environmental and public health protection,” said Lek Kadeli, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “These P3 grants encourage the growth of small businesses focused on developing innovative technologies to combat environmental issues.”

After eight months of work on their projects, the teams bring their designs to Washington, D.C., to participate in EPA’s National Sustainable Design Expo. During the event, a panel of scientific experts judges the projects. Winners receive a P3 award and recommendation for a second phase grant of up to $90,000 to further develop their designs and prepare them for the marketplace.

The 9
th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo featuring EPA’s P3 competition is scheduled for April 20-21, 2013, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The expo is open to the public and will display the 2012 P3 teams’ designs.

EPA is currently accepting applications for P3 awards for the 2013-2014 academic year through Dec. 11, 2012.

More information on the P3 2012 recipients:

More information on past P3 winners:

More information on the expo:

More information on applying for P3 awards for the 2013-2014 academic year: