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

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.

“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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