Student Sustainability Competition

Now for a public service announcement. Yesterday I received a mass-mailer from the EPA asking for help publicizing a sustainability competition. Since this is a topic that’s very important to me, I thought I would publish it here. The competition is open to graduate and undergraduate students, and the deadline to apply is December 21st (which also happens to be my birthday).


The P3 Award: People, Prosperity and the Planet A Student Design Competition for Sustainability – Apply by December 21, 2006.

Got an innovative solution that protects the environment while growing the economy? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring an exciting environmental design contest for undergraduate and graduate students – The P3 Award. Through this national design competition, students and their faculty advisors submit cutting-edge, sustainable solutions to environmental challenges and compete for $10,000 to develop their designs. Winners from the first phase of the competition advance to the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, DC, in the spring of 2008 where they compete for the chance to win up to $75,000 in funding to move their designs to the marketplace or implement them in the field.

Last year, 42 teams were awarded grants, including a team from Oberlin College that designed and tested a low-cost system for observing and interpreting energy and water consumption for individual dorms and college campuses. The project led to the creation of Lucid Design Group, a small business that designs and implements data acquisition and display systems for the green building industry. You can see all the grant winners’ designs and ideas at

“P3” stands for People, Prosperity and the Planet. EPA and its partners launched the P3 Award in 2003 to promote innovative thinking for moving the world toward sustainability. Participating college students gain new skills and knowledge as they research, develop, design and implement scientific and technical solutions to environmental challenges.

Teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students at institutions of higher education located in the U.S. are eligible to apply. But time is running out! This year’s P3 competition closes on December 21, 2006.

Learn more by visiting Assemble your team and apply today!

3 thoughts on “Student Sustainability Competition”

  1. Actually, I was referring to this part of the article:

    Electricity from Sugar Water

    “Further, by adjusting the amount of oxygen injected along with the soy oil or sugar water, the method can be adapted to make synthesis gas”

    You were speculating that the Kergy “breakthrough” might have been a way to reduce capital expenses for biomass gassification. If that process is scalable, it might be a big improvement:

    “The speed makes it possible to produce more fuel from a smaller reactor, reducing capital costs and potentially making it practical for a farmer to use a small system on the farm.”

    Though of course, it’d have to be able to use inputs like wood/switchgrass slurry instead of fine droplets of oil or fermented sugars.

  2. Kergy is claiming that their gasification step is anaerobic. That would be very unusual, and would probably mean continuous energy inputs. In other words, that reaction would not be self-sustaining. This is a variation from a typical gasification. The claimed advantage is that it gives them better product yields (no slag).

    Cheers, Robert

  3. I attended last year, just on happenstance on a lunch break. Wonderful talent was on exhibit, and I felt quite safe thinking these were the kids we’re entrusting to change the future.

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