The EPA announced nearly $1.2 million, in funding to 16 college student teams to research and develop innovative solutions that address environmental and public health challenges as part of the Agency’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Program. “EPA is pleased to mark the 20th anniversary of our P3 program by announcing this impressive round of projects that are tackling critical issues such as removing PFAS from water, combating harmful algal blooms, and materials recovery and reuse,” said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “I commend these hardworking and creative students and look forward to seeing the results of their innovative projects that are addressing some of our thorniest sustainability and environmental challenges.”

EPA’s P3 program features a unique competition that offers teams of college students hands-on experience to turn their creative design and engineering ideas into reality, while also helping solve real-world environmental challenges. The 16 recipients announced today will receive grants of up to $75,000 to fund a two-year project. Students will propose innovative and sustainable ideas and concepts and carry them through the research, design and demonstration stages. During the second year of the award, student teams will have the opportunity to showcase their designs at EPA’s National Student Design Expo.

Teams from the following institutions are receiving funding via EPA’s 20th Annual P3 awards:

  • Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, for Biochar-Enabled Platform for Enhanced Destruction and Defluorination of Short-Chain Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Water
  • Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, New York, for Developing Reusable and Antiviral Face Masks from Plastic Waste
  • Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado., for Open-Source Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) System for the Rapid and Accurate Detection of Bacteria from Environmental Water Samples
  • Mercer University, Macon, Georgia, for Navigating the Food-Energy-Water Nexus through the Conversion of Food Waste to Biocrude
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, for Two-dimensional Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2)-Based Field Effect Transistor Sensors for Airborne PFAS Detection
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, for Zirconium-modified Mica Coupled with Nanobubbles for Enhanced Phosphorus Removal, Recovery, and Reuse
  • Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, for Production of Lithium Carbonate from Geothermal Brine by Selective Extraction of Lithium Using a Novel Ion Sieve Method
  • Queens University of Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, for Biodiesel Production from Ethanol and Glycerol: a Living Laboratory for STEM Students
  • The State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, New York, for Sensor on Wheels (SOW): A Field-Deployable Environmental Pathogen Detection Tool
  • University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, for Solar-driven Photodegradation of Microcystin Using a Novel Gold-decorated Nickel Metalorganic Framework (Au/Ni-MOF)
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, for 100% Compostable Packaging Film
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, for Enhancement of PFAS-Contaminated Organic Wastes Treatment in Anaerobic Digestion by Carbon Materials
  • University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, for Understanding and Predicting Disparities in Organic Contaminant Levels in Blood among the U.S. Population
  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Cellulose-Metal Organic Frameworks Hybrid Adsorbent for PFAS Removal from Water
  • Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania, for Developing Geopolymer Cement using Sewage Sludge Ash as Precursors
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, for 3D-Printed Floating Photocatalyst Structures that Mimic Natural Objects to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms
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