EPA Grant Funds Green Future Student Project

October 13, 2006 - 10:24

Thanks to a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), university design students at institutions like Southern Illinois University (SIU) and the University of Tennessee are competing to develop sustainable environmental solutions. This design competition is named People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3).

Students at SIU are working to develop “green roofs” made of plants for improved storm water management, increased energy conservation, reduced urban heat island effects and extended roof life. University of Tennessee students are working to see if 1-celled plants (algae) can generate enough hydrogen energy in a biohydrogen facility to produce transportation for a 100,000-person city.

Forty-two student design teams have received $420,000 in grants from the EPA to research and develop these types of environmental solutions. The P3 competition encourages university teams to develop projects that are:

  • Environmentally protective — use or release less toxic chemicals.
  • Efficiently use natural resources — conserve resources for future generations.
  • Economically competitive — make a profit.

One of the goals of the program is to show that sustainable designs can provide a higher quality of life while protecting the planet and that these designs are compatible with economic prosperity. Four P3 designs from the 2005 P3 competition are now being developed as commercial ventures.

“Since 2004, we’ve looked forward to each year’s crop of bright ideas. These projects show that environmental solutions and economic growth go hand in hand,” said George Gray, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

The EPA is now requesting applications for the 2007 P3 competition. To find out more about the program, go to epa.gov/p3.

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