An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

P3 Student Design Competition

2014/2015 P3 Teams

Phase 1 | Phase 2

2014/2015 P3 Grant Recipients - Phase 1: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity, and the Planet

Institution EPA Grant Number Project Title Project Description
Columbus State University SU835711 Technological and Economic Sustainability of Coupling Wastewater Algal Treatment and Biogas Production Wastewater is a leading source of controllable nutrient pollution discharged into rivers and lakes. This nutrient pollution causes our waters to turn green with excessive blooms of algae and cyanobacteria.
Arizona State University SU835686 Building Integrated Solar Thermal Electric Generation (BISTEG) This project investigates a new device for generating electricity from sunlight. The proposed research will build an experimental prototype and establish: 1) the solar conditions under which the technology generates electricity, 2) thermodynamic efficiency and cost, and 3) the most effective thermoelectric materials.
University of California - Riverside SU835687 Power Production through the use of Pressure Retarded Osmosis and Solar Distillation Ponds The goal of this project is to combine pressure retarded osmosis and solar distillation to generate power in a closed loop cycle.
University of California - Davis SU835688 Enrichment of Microbial Communities for Biogas Production in High-Solids Environments We propose laboratory experiments to enrich, characterize, and preserve a microbial community capable of high-solids anaerobic digestion (AD) for biorenewable methane production from manure. Use of methane generated via AD has the ability to reduce carbon emissions from fossil-fuel-based energy production by offsetting use of fossil fuels.
Western Washington University SU835689 Biomethane for Transportation: Upgrading Dairy Anaerobic Biogas Using Microbial Mats The Biomethane for Transportation project demonstrates the viability of utilizing renewable natural gas or biomethane derived from dairy farming anaerobic digesters. This waste to energy project reduces the global warming potential of dairy farming while providing an alternative vehicle fuel market to electrical power generation projects.
Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University SU835690 Diesel Emissions Test Stand to Improve Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) The goal of this proposal is to reduce Diesel emissions by improving Diesel after-treatment effectiveness generally and for Diesel hybrid electric vehicles in particular. The challenge to sustainability is the need for sustainable transportation while protecting the environment. Increasing CAFÉ fuel economy requirements combined with challenging EPA NOx emissions requirements will result in a larger percentage of Diesel engines in the light duty market.
Southern Polytechnic State University SU835691 Achieving Increased Photovoltaic Panel Energy Collection with Cell-Strings that Track the Sun Most photovoltaic panels are mounted on the ground or roofs at a fixed angle of tilt, resulting in sub-optimal energy collection as these panels do not always face the sun directly. Various tracking system designs increase energy collection by 29% to 40%, but generally require significant investments in materials and equipment.
Michigan Technological University SU835692 Developing a Guide for Harnessing Low-grade Geothermal Energy from Minewater for Heating and Cooling Buildings The goal of this project is evaluate the technical and social feasibility of tapping water in abandoned mines for geothermal heating and cooling. Geothermal heating and cooling systems are regarded as the most efficient and an environmentally benign alternative to burning fossil fuels, which emit air pollution and contribute to climate change.
Indiana University
Purdue University
SU835693 Modeling of Air handling Unit for Wireless Monitoring The main goal of this project is to achieve a reduction in energy consumption through air handling unit (AHU) system performance improvement while also considering occupant comfort level.
University of Missouri SU835694 Feasibility and Life Cycle Assessment of Anaerobic Co-Digestion of Campus Food Waste and Swine Manure To determine the economic and engineering feasibility of treating food waste mixed with swine manure using anaerobic digestion (AD) and to quantify environmental sustainability metrics, including energy use, greenhouse gases, and nutrients recovered.
Appalachian State University SU835695 Biomass Greenhouse-Heating Systems to Extend Growing Seasons for Resource-Limited Farmers This grant request focuses on one aspect of a holistic approach to best practices for agriculture, water, energy, waste management, and community.
Bridgewater State College SU835696 Southeastern Massachusetts Student Network for Biodiesel Research and Education The small scale production of biodiesel fuel from waste vegetable oil (WVO) has been a popular activity for sustainability education in colleges and high schools.
Case Western Reserve University SU835697 An Ultra-Affordable Pedal Generator for Low Load Applications Our innovative idea is an ultra-affordable device with which one can comfortably transform human energy to electricity for low-load (~1 W) applications.
University of California - Riverside SU835698 Technology for the Reduction of Particulate Matter Emissions for Residential Propane BBQs To perform research and develop preventative technology that will reduce fine particulate emissions (PM2.5) from residential barbecues.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute SU835699 Self-healing Coatings for Steel-reinforced Infrastructure This proposal focuses on developing, for the first time, self-healing coatings for rebar.
Kent State University SU835700 Testing the (Storm) Waters: Techniques for Surface Reclamation on Urban Brownfields Contemporary stormwater practices requiring infiltration are conflicting with pollution abatement strategies commonly employed on post-industrial lands.
University of North Carolina at Charlotte SU835701 Sustainable Responsivity: The Integration of Nanosolar Skin for Built Environment and Mobility This proposal is an interdisciplinary research project that focuses on the study of integrating next generation nanoscale solar skin in order to reduce the solar heat gain and glare while producing electricity.
University of California - Riverside SU835702 NOx-Out – Selective Catalytic Reduction System for Emission Control of Small Off-Road Engines The NOx-Out prototype is designed to be an inexpensive selective catalytic reducer (SCR) which can be retrofitted to any small off-road engine (SORE) for the reduction of harmful emissions.
Northern Kentucky University SU835703 Clearing the Air: APPlying Informatics to Reduce Traffic Congestion in Greater Cincinnati Our goal is to reduce vehicle miles traveled by increasing transit use and carpooling in the Greater Cincinnati region.
Western Washington University SU835704 Smart Solar Windows – A Step Towards Carbon Neutral Buildings The goal of this project is to develop and demonstrate a new, cost-effective smart window technology combining a transparent photovoltaic solar concentrator with wireless electronics to both produce power and reduce HVAC building loads within an existing building footprint.
University of Connecticut SU835705 Environmentally Friendly Flame Retardants Based on Inorganic Nanosheets Because of the significant environment and health issues of many flame retardants currently on market, the objective of this project is to develop a cost effective environmentally friendly flame retardant based on inorganic nanosheets.
Arizona State University
Northern Arizona University
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
SU835706 Community-Scale Gasification and Biochar Retort Hubs for Rural Areas: A “Closed Loop” System for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioenergy In response to the need for interdisciplinary studies integrating appropriately-scaled economic, social, and environmental feasibility assessment, we propose to develop screening-level metrics to evaluate the role physical, biological, operational, and economic factors of biochar and power co-generation play in advancing the deployment of rural community-scale gasification hubs.
Ohio Northern University SU835707 Lowering Co2 Emission and Making Concrete More Environmentally Friendly by Adding Limestone The goal of our proposal, “Lowering CO2 Emission and Making Concrete More Environmentally Friendly by Adding Limestone”, is to produce a more sustainable concrete by engaging a team of undergraduate civil engineering students to address challenges associated with incorporating limestone in the concrete mixture and measuring the amount of CO2 emission.
Eastern Illinois University SU835708 Fungi for Bioenergy: Development of a Sustainable Biomass Pretreatment System The primary objective of the proposed project is to explore the efficacy of using a common white-rot fungus, Trametes versicolor, as a natural pretreatment agent for residual biomass (corn stover) and dedicated crops (switchgrass, Miscanthus).
Bard College SU835709 The Integrated Use of Road Salt Management and Application Techniques We will create an educational pamphlet outlining the reasoning behind RSMAT, as well as the measures that colleges and municipalities can take to reduce overall road salt use.
University of Massachusetts - Lowell SU835710 Green Nanosolder Paste for Next-Generation Electronics Assembly and Manufacturing This project focuses on developing a green lead-free and halogen-free nanosolder paste by using Sn/Ag/Cu (SAC) nanoparticles to replace the conventional solder paste, which is composed of toxic and hazardous materials, including micron sized tin-lead solder balls and halogen-based flux material.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University SU835712 Floating Island on a Roof for Rainwater Management Our objective is to reduce runoff from roofs, and provide biological diversity in urban areas.
John Brown University SU835713 Development of an Affordable Solar Thermal Pasteurizer for Waterborne Diseases in Rural Guatemala The project’s objective is to design a scalable, modular, and affordable PV-powered water purification system that is viable for implementation in Escuintla Department, Guatemala.
Indiana University SU835714 Water Quality and Hydrologic Performance of Stormwater Control Berms. Part of the Indiana University RAIN (Restorative Adaptations for Infrastructure) Initiative In determining site-specific design and performance metrics and cost-effectiveness, field scale performance data is needed to assess the hydrologic function of design elements. The proposed design approaches this challenge through the installation and performance measurements of four “weep” berms and 120 filter berms.
Cornell University SU835715 Application of Foam Filtration to Water Treatment for Rapid Emergency Response Our plan is to design a community-sized foam filtration water treatment system.
University of Alabama SU835716 Sequenced Combination of UV LED Wavelengths for Enhanced Inactivation of Waterborne Pathogens This project will test the effectiveness of three UV LEDs (255-, 280- and 362-nm peak emission) and a 225-nm laser for inactivation of bacterial and viral indicators of UV treatment effectiveness.
Johns Hopkins University
Clean Green Chesapeake
Van Ert, Nemoto and Associates Consulting
SU835717 Sustainable Algal Biofuels Solution: Sourcing Carbon and Recycling Nutrients from Waste Treatment Processing This research program addresses sustainability of both energy production and water treatment by applying an innovative three-stage process that utilizes waste run-off as nutrients to generate sugar-rich substrates for generation of advanced liquid biofuels through enhanced algal bioprocessing.
Stanford University SU835718 Sustainable Sanitation Solutions for Low-Income Urban Households To address the challenges of density, poverty, limited water access, and the often informal status of these communities, we are developing a portable waterless, urine-diverting household toilet with sealable, removable and reusable cartridges that enables safe removal of human waste.
University of Florida SU835719 Prevention of Pharmaceutical Water Pollution by Urine Source Separation and Treatment The goal of this P3 Project is evaluate the efficacy of using adsorption to remove pharmaceuticals from source-separated human urine.
Michigan State University
Technological Institute of Costa Rica
SU835720 Integrating Water and Energy Engineering with Ecotourism in a Costa Rican Aboriginal Community This project aims to develop an integrated water-wastewater-energy system for ecotourism development in Costa Rica lead by the Shuabb Aborigine Women Association.
Mississippi State University SU835721 Integrated Desalination and Wastewater Treatment Systems for Enhanced Water and Energy Recovery The objective of this project is to design and develop an integrated microbial desalination system to treat wastewater with nitrogen removal for electricity generation and to produce desalinated water simultaneously.
Mississippi State University SU835722 User-friendly Design Tools for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment in Rural and Disadvantaged Communities The objectives of this project are to determine appropriate low-cost and effective nutrient removal alternatives for wastewater treatment for rural and low-income disadvantaged communities in the Mississippi delta and coastal communities.
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry SU835723 Developing a Vacuum Distillation – Acid Absorption System for Recovery of Ammonia from Dairy Manure Our goal is to develop an innovative technology coupling vacuum distillation and acid absorption for sustainable recovery of ammonia from both anaerobically digested and undigested dairy manure.
University of Tulsa SU835724 Developing a Wireless Device for Monitoring Water Usage for Hotel Showers The proposed work aims to develop a novel low cost wireless device for monitoring water use from hotel guest room showers.
University of St Thomas SU835725 Adaptation of Hydroponics to Remove Excess Phosphorus from Urban Lakes Our proposal explores the potential to use hydroponic vegetable production to remove excess P from Como Lake in Saint Paul, MN, while generating an economically viable product and providing a unique product for public outreach.
Austin Community College SU835726 Evaluation and Expansion of Solar Disinfection Method for Reclaimed Residential Greywater Students will study solar disinfection (SODIS) of greywater for reuse in irrigation with the goal of designing a robust, efficient, effective, low-cost, low energy-requiring, and nontoxic system for residential use.
Norwich University SU835727 Pervious Concrete Filters for Sustainable Water Resource Management The technical challenge of our proposal is to re-design pervious concrete; a common component of Low Impact Development (LID) infrastructure, to harvest and filter storm water runoff contaminated by organics, nutrients, and metals and convert it to meet drinking water quality standards.

2014/2015 P3 Grant Recipients - Phase 2: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity, and the Planet

Institution Project Title Project Description
Cornell University

Johns Hopkins University
"Smart" Turbidimeters for Remote Monitoring of Water Quality Cornell University and Johns Hopkins University’s Water Quality team has designed a low-cost monitor for measuring water quality.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Develop a Concentrated Solar Power-based Thermal Cooling System via Simulation and Experimental Studies Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s team demonstrates an innovative air conditioning system that runs on solar power.
Iowa State University Developing Sustainable Products Using Renewable Cellulose Fiber and Biopolymer Composites Iowa State University’s team is designing a new kind of fabric made with fibers from bacteria and yeast grown in tea and polymers (large molecules) of corn and soy.
Purdue University Biowall's Impact on Indoor Air Quality and Energy Purdue University's team is studying how to improve indoor air quality by installing plants in a home's HVAC system.
SUNY Stony Brook Ocean Wave Energy Harvester with a Novel Power Takeoff Mechanism SUNY Stony Brook’s team has designed and built Poseidon, an ocean energy harvester that infinitely converts wave motion into electrical energy.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville Green Oak as a Sustainable Building Material University of Tennessee Knoxville’s green building team is exploring ways to use green oak or “heart centers,” the low quality part of hardwood logs, in U.S. building construction.
University of Wisconsin Exchange Network for Expanded Polystyrene Bio-Shipping Containers  University of Wisconsin-Madison’s team has implemented a campus recycling program for Styrofoam packaging.