The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded more than $1 million in grants to university and college teams from across the country that participated in the 8th annual National Sustainable Design Expo for their innovative environmental solutions. The People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) competition included more than 300 college innovators, showcasing sustainable projects designed to protect the environment, encourage economic growth and use natural resources more efficiently. Winning teams receive a grant of up to $90,000 to further develop their design, apply it to real world applications or move it to the marketplace.
Regional winners include Texas State University—San Marcos, which converted rice husks into lignocellulose, used for producing fabrics, biofuel and silica nanoparticles. The University of Oklahoma—Norman design, built a Habitat for Humanity house out of compressed earth blocks.
Honorable mention winners include the University of Texas—Austin, for employing vermicomposting (worm culture) bins to improve public health in the Dominican Republic by reducing water contamination from organic waste. The Missouri University of Science and Technology developed a control system that opens and closes windows to maximize natural ventilation and save energy by sensing differencing in outdoor and indoor climate conditions.
For more information about the P3 program and competition, visit EPA.gov/P3.