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Students shine at sustainable design contest

Students from six universities across the country received awards for sustainable solutions to environmental problems in a first ever contest on the National Mall sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA Hosts National Sustainable Design Expo
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.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
/ Source: msnbc.com

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.

WASHINGTON - MAY 10: Jars filled with the different stages of the production of biodiesel made by Appalachian State University students are on display at the first National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall May 10, 2006 in Washington, DC. Students from Appalachian State produced 250 gallons of biodiesel fuel which they used to drive a 1971 Mercedes 17-passenger mini-bus from Boone, NC, to Washington. 41 Colleges, universities and other education institutions that applied for and won the Environmental Protection Agency's People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Awards displayed their winning designs on the mall. The Duke SmartHouse will be constructed at the university over the next year and 10 students will live in the building using sustainable technology. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images North America

"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 www.epa.gov/P3.