EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) program demonstrates that protecting the environment can also be economically profitable, according to the agency. The P3 program also provides technical assistance to move developed and developing nations toward sustainability. EPA awarded 43 P3 grants for a total of $890,000 to student teams representing 40 universities in 24 states, according to the agency.

As part of the 43 P3 Phase I grants and six Phase II grants to winning teams from last year, a team from Appalachian State University is designing a coffee wastewater treatment system that produces ethanol and bio-gas for possible use as car fuels.

Gonzaga University students are building an educational center and dormitory in Kenya, so students can learn how to implement sustainable water filtering technology and identify local energy sources.

An American Association for the Advancement of Science panel will evaluate the projects and make recommendations to EPA, who will choose future winners. The P3 Award includes the possibility of additional funding up to $75,000 that gives students an opportunity to further develop their sustainable designs and move them to the marketplace. The next P3 Award Competition will be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Sustainable Design Expo, April 18-20, 2009.