EPA awards $15,000 of grants to UK for project

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the University of Kentucky would receive a $15,000 grant to fund a Phase I student team through the People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) grants program Thursday.

Over $463,000 in funding is being provided by the program for 31 teams nationwide that are developing sustainable technologies to solve current environmental and public health challenges.

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“This year’s P3 teams are applying their classroom learning to create valuable, cutting-edge technologies,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “This next generation of scientists is designing sustainable solutions that will help protect public health and the environment and ensure America continues to lead the world in innovation and science for decades to come.”

Funding for the P3 competition is divided into two phases. Teams selected for Phase I awards receive grants of up to $15,000 to fund the proof of concept for their projects, which are then showcased at the National Sustainable Design Expo.

The 2018 Expo is scheduled to be held at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC, April 7-8. Phase I teams are eligible to compete for Phase II awards of up to $75,000 to further develop and implement their designs.

The University of Kentucky student team will use the funding to design and construct a prototype wind harnessing system from low cost materials that dries grain quickly.

By reducing the drying time, student researchers seek to inhibit the growth of molds known to produce the poisonous carcinogen aflatoxin that causes stunting in children, which is prevalent in developing countries.

“It is interesting to note that a simple technology that harnesses wind energy for forced air generation can help improve the quality of grains and other agricultural products that need drying in developing countries,” said Doctor Akinbode A. Adedeji, Carnegie Fellow & Assistant Professor of Food Process Engineering at the University of Kentucky.

Inadequate and slow drying cause mold growth that produces a highly toxic material that has serious effect on human health.

A student-led design effort at University of Kentucky addresses this problem that has a far reaching effect on the prosperity of people all over our planet, and we are very excited about it.”

To learn more about the projects of the 2017 Phase I winners, visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/632/records_per_page/ALL.

For more information on the P3 Program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/P3.

Media release from the EPA.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.