Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


Student Brain Power Wins EPA Grant for MIT Design of Alternative Energy Systems

Release Date: 11/20/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 20, 2008) – Students at MIT working on designing a system that creates power using solar heat and methane gas received one of 49 national EPA grants which are helping programs that protect the environment and are economically profitable.

The $10,000 grant has been awarded to the Mass. Institute of Technology in Cambridge through EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) program, which provides funds for designs to move developed and developing world toward sustainability. EPA awarded a total of $880,000 in P3 grants to student teams representing 39 universities in 23 states.

As one of the 43 grants for new projects, MIT’s project will involve researching and developing a design for a system to generate renewable energy using the solar and organic resources available in a region and that best meet the needs of local communities. By focusing on solar thermal, biogas, and algal CO2 technologies, the MIT system aims to increase the efficiency and decrease the CO2 load to the atmosphere of a traditional diesel generator. The system will be designed with widely available materials so it can be manufactured and distributed locally by energy entrepreneurs in the developing world.

“A smart way to advance protecting our environment is to tap into our country’s endless store of student brain power,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England office. “These MIT students are showing innovation and creativity. Our hope is that their work can help us address environmental challenges in ways that protect the environment, build new businesses and create new careers.”

Next April, the 43 grant recipients will be invited to Washington, D.C, to compete for “Phase II” of EPA’s Annual P3 Awards. At that time, a panel convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science will evaluate the currently announced team projects and make recommendations to EPA who will select the winners.

The P3 Award and Phase II grant includes additional funding up to $75,000 that gives students an opportunity to further develop their sustainable designs and move them to the marketplace. The 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.

More information:

The MIT project (

Other P3 winners and their projects (

EPA’s P3 Award program (