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News Releases from Region 04

Student Teams from Alabama, Tennessee and Florida Universities Awarded $60,000 EPA Grant for Innovative Technology Projects

03/18/2019
Contact Information: 
EPA Region 4 (region4press@epa.gov)

ATLANTA – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $60,000 in funding for four student teams through its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grants program. The teams from the University of Alabama, East Tennessee State University, University of Central Florida and University of Miami 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.”

“We applaud the ‘outside of the box’ technologies being developed by tomorrow’s engineering and scientific leaders,” said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “The promising research being advanced by these student teams will help us build tools to address environmental challenges throughout the Southeast.”

 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:
 

  • The University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa, Ala.: A student team from the University of Alabama is building a model that provides the first ever estimate of the number and location of household raw sewage discharges in rural Alabama. This project will enable legislators and local stakeholders to prioritize wastewater projects and justify spending based on clearly defined risks and benefits.
  • East Tennessee State University – Johnson City, Tenn.: A student team from East Tennessee State University will develop porous adsorbents to clean water contaminated by perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctansulfonic acid (PFOS).
  • University of Central Florida – Orlando, Fla.: A student team from University of Central Florida is researching using a novel modified membrane to reclaim water from urban runoff.
  • University of Central Florida – Orlando, Fla.: A student team from University of Central Florida is advancing technology used to determine trace levels of lead in tap water samples. The proposed design will allow for an on-site, portable and convenient method of detection.

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.

To learn more about the P3 projects, visit:

https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/639/records_per_page/ALL

For more information on the P3 Program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/P3