CHICAGO – On Dec. 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced nearly $100,000 in funding to four student teams through its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grants program. The teams from the University of Toledo, Baldwin Wallace University, Miami University, and University of Akron, will receive funding to develop and demonstrate projects that help address environmental and public health challenges.
“Advancements in scientific knowledge and technology come from innovative projects like these,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “EPA is pleased to advance the work of the student teams from Baldwin Wallace University, Miami University, University of Akron, and University of Toledo as they work towards finding solutions to protect the environment and our communities.”
“As EPA celebrates its 50th anniversary, this month, we are highlighting ways the agency supports the next generation of environmental leaders,” said Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, EPA’s Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Science and EPA Science Advisor. “The P3 program helps foster environmental education among students to support the next generation of scientists and engineers working to tackle some of today’s most pressing environmental issues.
The Phase I teams will receive grants of up to $25,000 each which serve as their proof of concept. Across the nation, this year’s winners are addressing a variety of research topics including efforts to reduce microplastics waste and food waste, creating innovative and solar-driven nanomaterials, building a stand-alone water treatment system that can provide potable water for indoor use in single family homes, and removing PFAS from water using liquid extractions.
These teams are also eligible to compete for a Phase II grant of up to $100,000 to further implement their design in a real-world setting.
Phase I grantees include student teams from the following universities:
University of Toledo: A student team will aim to develop wet wipes that rapidly dissolve when flushed, safeguarding the sewer/wastewater treatment system and reducing the emissions of plastic debris.
Baldwin Wallace University: A student team from Baldwin Wallace University will develop a mobile application that will allow food to be listed and recovered on a college campus. The team aims for the sustainable food app to result in the recovery of 5-10% of all food at institutional events during the first year of use.
Miami University: A team from Miami University will research a novel approach to removing perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS) from water. Additionally, the project will design a process to remove PFAS from water on a commercial scale and evaluate it for economic viability.
University of Akron: A student team from University of Akron will develop an alternative to polyurethane coatings which are produced using hazardous and toxic chemicals. The new approach will also reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) by using water as a solvent.