Cornell University

Cornell University has been named one of several to receive funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) grant program. Cornell's project was Environment and Community-Friendly Wastewater Treatment. The P3 program is a two-phase research grant program that challenges teams of students, comprised of undergraduate and graduate students from across the country which seeks to designs innovative solutions to real-world environmental public health challenges.

Phase I, the teams have a chance to get “proof of concept” and are awarded a $15,000 grant to develop their ideas which will be showcased at the EPA’s National Student Design Expo. During Phase II, the remaining teams have the chance to build upon their success in Phase I of the competition, in which the winning teams will be awarded a grant of up to $75,000, to implement their design in the real world. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said these technologies will serve to solve some of the great issues of the world.

“These Phase II recipients have demonstrated that the technologies they developed are viable solutions to real-world environmental issues,” Wheeler said. “Through the P3 program, EPA is supporting the next generation of scientists and engineers while encouraging innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges.”

Other recipients include:

  • University of Central Florida – Orlando, Florida
    A Novel 2D MoS2 Sponge Oil-Water Separator (MDSOS)

  • Case Western University – Cleveland, Ohio
    Ultra-Low-Cost Reusable Solar Disinfection Sensor

  • Michigan Technological University – Houghton, Michigan
    Separation and Recovery of Individual Components from the End-of-Life Lithium-Ion Batteries

  • Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, Oklahoma
    Decreasing the Energy Use in Wastewater Treatment

  • University of California Riverside – Riverside, California
    PanCeria: Catalytic NO and CO Emission Control Unit for Small Off-Road Engines

Several of the P3 Phase II grantees will be attending the National Student Design Expo (NSDE) to be held at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 17 – 18, 2019. At the expo, the students will showcase advancements made from their idea and how they’ve leveraged it with P3 funding. This will allow them a chance to gain the opportunity to network with other grantees and businesses.

Former P3 winners have started businesses based on ideas and products developed during the competition. The 2007 winning team from the University of California Berkley, for example, created SimpleWater, a water treatment company that specializes in household water treatment systems.

Another successful 2007 team from the University of Virginia created the Learning Barge, as a part of the Elizabeth River Project. The Learning Barge is the world’s first floating wetland classroom and is touted as America’s Greenest Vessel. It's a "steward ship," which teaches children that live nearby about environmental stewardship and how to make the river swimmable and fishable by 2020.


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