P3 Winners Announced

By Aaron Ferster

This past weekend, as our string of bright, warm spring days gave way to the cold, driving rain of a classic Nor’easter roaring through the mid-Atlantic, some 300 students representing 45 design teams gathered under big white tents on the National Mall.

The students braved the elements to participate in the National Sustainable Design Expo and to showcase their projects aimed at protecting human health and advancing sustainability.

As we wrote about last week, the student teams were there to take part in EPA’s P3 student competition. Each showcased their design to a panel of judges made up of national experts, who then passed along evaluations to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Early Monday evening, the teams gathered in a big conference room in the warm confines of the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Washington DC to learn who would take home the coveted P3 awards.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson greets a P3 team.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson greets a P3 team.

15 university and college teams from across the country were named winners.

Selected projects include a foldable, solar-powered water purification system designed to fit within a backpack; a pilot scale system to convert trap grease from restaurants from a waste product into a fuel; and a “biohybrid” solar panel that taps a protein from spinach in place of rare metals to produce electricity.

For a complete list of the winning teams and their projects, check out the press release: EPA Awards More Than $1 Million to College Teams for Innovative Environmental Solutions.

In addition to the honor of winning the P3 award, each team also receives a grant of up to $90,000 to further develop their projects in order to bring their sustainable designs to the marketplace.

And now, with that exciting event wrapped up, we’re getting ready to share even more of our science this weekend at the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

EPA researchers and others will be on hand to answer questions and conduct demonstrations about how EPA uses science and engineering to protect human health and the planet. (Keep an eye on this blog for more about what we’ll be sharing).

So if you’ll be in Washington, DC this weekend, be sure to come by booth #1745 to say hello. The Festival is free and open to the public. It is even going to be indoors, so you don’t have to worry about the weather!

About the Author: Aaron Ferster is the editor of It All Starts with Science, and a frequent contributor.

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