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EPA Recognizes Seven University Teams for Environmental Solutions

Release Date: 04/28/2014
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn (News Media Only), Milbourn.Cathy@epa.gov, 202-564-7849, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced seven winning student teams of EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) phase II awards for innovative and sustainable designs to help solve today’s complex environmental problems at the 10th annual National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C.

“As we mark the 10th year of the National Sustainable Design Expo and P3 competition, we continue to be inspired by the next generation of scientists and engineers shaping the future of our country,” said Bob Perciasepe, U.S. EPA Deputy Administrator. “These students support a vision for the future that encourages a prosperous economy while seeking sustainable and creative solutions to some of the most pressing environmental and health challenges facing our world.”

EPA's P3 Program challenges student teams to create designs for a sustainable future while offering quality hands-on experience that brings science, technology, engineering and math classroom learning to life. This year’s winners were selected from 35 competing teams following two days of judging by a panel of national experts convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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

Winners of this year’s awards are:

Cornell University, New York, for designing a low-cost monitor for measuring water quality.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida, for designing

an innovative air conditioning system that runs on solar power.

Iowa State University for designing a new kind of fabric made with fibers from bacteria and yeast grown in tea and polymers of corn and soy.

Purdue University, Indiana, for researching how to improve indoor air quality by using plants grown in the air filter of a home HVAC system.

SUNY Stony Brook, New York, for designing and building Poseidon, an ocean energy harvester that converts wave motion into electrical energy.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for exploring ways to use green oak or “heart centers,” the low-quality part of hardwood logs in U.S. building construction.

University of Wisconsin, Madison, for implementing a campus recycling program for expanded polystyrene packaging thereby diverting almost 2000 boxes and other polystyrene material from landfills in 6 months of operation.

The winning teams announced today received EPA’s P3 award and will each be recommended for Phase II funding of a grant up to $90,000. Phase I funding provided teams with up to $15,000 to develop their design. In addition to the seven winning team, 17 teams were recognized as Honorable Mentions for their project quality inspiring innovation for environmental solutions.

Now in its tenth year, EPA’s P3 program has funded 477 student team projects, that involved over 3,400 undergraduate and graduate students and 1,000 faculty members.

The 2014 National Sustainable Design Expo was held in conjunction with the USA Science and Engineering Festival (USA SEF) at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. This was the third year of the Festival, the largest science festival in the United States.

More information on the P3 Program and this year’s projects: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/p3/

More information on USA SEF: http://www.usasciencefestival.org/