Chip Somodevilla  /  Getty Images
Duke University student Frank Coleman adjusts his team's sun-tracking solar panels during the first-ever sustainable design contest hosted by the Environmental Protection Agnecy on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
updated 5/12/2006 12:07:04 PM ET 2006-05-12T16:07:04

Students from six universities across the country received awards for sustainable solutions to environmental problems in a first ever contest on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and 44 other government, educational and private partners, the contest known as P3 — for People, Prosperity and the Planet — had 41 teams set up their design projects on the nation's premiere open space.

Students from the University of Michigan, for example, used building construction material that had been grown — the idea being to use natural fibers while encouraging new markets for agriculture.

Getting there was half the fun for some teams. Students from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., drove over in a bus powered by biodiesel fuel made from recycled cooking oil.

Chip Somodevilla  /  Getty Images
Appalachian State University students displayed jars filled with the different stages of the production of biodiesel.
"P3 releases the power of the possible to advance sustainable solutions to environmental challenges," EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said in a statement. "I am pleased that our nation's future leaders are answering President Bush's call to deliver environmental and economic results by expanding technology and innovation."

The P3 award includes funding up to $75,000 "that gives the students an opportunity to further develop their designs and move them to the marketplace," the EPA said.

The award winners are:

  • Appalachian State University, Boone, N.C. Closing the Biodiesel Loop: community based production of biodiesel from local waste vegetable oil.
  • Lafayette College, Easton, Pa. Sustainable Water Systems in Honduras - a simple method to remove inorganic arsenic from groundwater sources.
  • Portland State University, Portland, Ore. WISE, an interactive Web site for educators and students on a holistic approach to sustainable development.
  • Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. The Green Dorm: design and construction of a sustainable facility for residential, laboratory and commons space.
  • University of Massachusetts, Lowell, Mass. Cancer treatment drugs from green tea.
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. Growing alternative sustainable buildings from natural fiber, biodegradable or recyclable materials.

Additional background is online at

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