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College Students Find Greener Solutions to Protect the Planet - EPA P3 Award Winners

Release Date: 04/23/2008
Contact Information: Suzanne Ackerman, (202) 564-4355 /

(Washington, D.C. - April 23, 2008) EPA's annual People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) competition plants the seeds for future technologies that are both environmentally-friendly and profitable. The competition winners announced last night show the agency harvested a plentiful crop this year. Students from University of California-Davis will develop technology to produce plastic from wastewater. Loyola University of Chicago students will construct a laboratory to produce biodiesel from their cafeteria's vegetable oil waste. The University of Iowa team will develop a hand-held water sanitizer useful for disinfecting drinking water in households of poor communities around the world.

This national competition, sponsored by EPA's Office of Research and Development, encourages college students to create sustainable solutions to environmental problems through technological innovation. These sustainable solutions must be environmentally friendly, efficiently use natural resources and be economically competitive. Each P3 award winner receives funding up to $75,000 to further develop their designs and implement them in the field or move them to the marketplace.

"EPA's National Sustainable Design Expo and People, Prosperity and the Planet competition provide a window into tomorrow," said Dr. George Gray, assistant administrator for the Office of Research and Development. "These innovative student teams not only show technologies for a greener future, but demonstrate the passion and innovative thinking that will lead us there."

Winners of this year's awards and their projects are:

  • Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa., A Novel Reactor Design for Efficient Production of Biodiesel from High Free-Fatty-Acid Oils
  • Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill., Innovative Biodiesel Production: A Solution to the Scientific, Technical, and Educational Challenges to Sustainability
  • University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, Calif., Electrochemical Arsenic Remediation in Rural Bangladesh
  • University of California-Davis, Davis, Calif., Production of Natural Plastics in Wastewater Treatment
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill., Sustainable Water Development Program for Rural Nigeria
  • University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, Design and Testing of a Point-of-Use Electrolytic Chlorine Generator for Drinking Water Disinfection in Poor Countries

The P3 Award competition was held at EPA's 4th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., April 20-22. The Expo showcases innovative, cutting-edge technologies designed by the P3 teams along with sustainable policies and technologies developed and implemented by government and state agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Support for the competition includes more than 40 partners in the federal government, industry and scientific and professional societies. This year's Expo was co-sponsored by The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education and The World Environment Center.

Video and photos of the P3 winners, exhibits and teams at the Expo:

P3 award winners and their projects:

More information about the P3 Award competition:

EPA's sustainability research program: