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News Releases from Region 05

EPA Awards $75,000 to Miami University Students through People, Prosperity and the Planet program

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-034

OXFORD, Ohio (Nov. 12, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded students at Miami University $74,663 to develop prototypes of fuel vapor emissions control devices for use in cars. Nationally, EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet program awarded $594,424 to eight undergraduate and graduate college student teams.

“I congratulate these students for their innovative ideas to solve some of our biggest environmental challenges,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The student teams in this competition have shown exemplary work and are excellent representatives of the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

“EPA Region 5 applauds the research team at Miami University for their efforts in reducing fuel vapor emissions from automobiles,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “This kind of innovation can improve human health and the environment, and has the potential to create jobs.”

Miami University researchers propose to reduce evaporative fuel vapor emissions from automobiles using a novel ultraviolet light emitting diodes (UV-LEDs) photocatalytic process. The photocatalytic process will utilize battery-powered UV-LEDs as light sources and photocatalytic (TiO2) films coated on the inside surfaces of the vent lines in the onboard fuel vapor recovery system in automobiles.

“This recognition and support by the EPA for Phase 2 of our U.S. EPA P3 project to develop a UV-LED photocatalytic device to reduce evaporative fuel vapor emissions from automobiles reflects the innovation and talent of students at Miami University,” said Prof. Catherine B. Almquist. “This EPA P3 award will give students invaluable experience in research in design solutions for a sustainable future and helps support Miami's climate commitment.”

The P3 program is a two-phase research grant program that challenges student teams to research, develop, and design innovative projects addressing environmental and public health challenges. The winning teams are building upon their successes in Phase I where they each received up to $15,000. With today’s announcement of Phase II funding of up to $75,000 per team, the teams will now further develop those projects and designs to ensure they can be sustainably implemented in the field.

Since the P3 program’s inception in 2004, EPA has funded student teams to develop sustainable technologies that help solve important environmental and public health challenges. To date, EPA has awarded over 720 P3 projects for a total amount of $16,745,235 involving more than 4,000 students at 234 institutions in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Research from previous P3 awards continues to make a difference today. Many student teams have taken their experience and funding to go on to start small businesses across the country. For example, a former P3 team from Harvard University launched One Earth Designs, a startup that sells solar-powered grills, which can also function as space heaters and electric generators. Another former P3 team from Cornell University funded SUNN, a company that sells energy efficient indoor LED light fixtures.

To learn more about the Phase II awarded institutions:

For more information on the P3 Program, visit: