People, Prosperity, and the Planet

Spring is always an exciting time in Washington, DC.  Cherry Blossoms bloom, the tourists return to the national mall, and the EPA P3 contest is back.

Yes, the P3 contest!  The Environmental Protection Agency's "People, Prospetity, and the Planet" contest is happening once again! The contest focuses on addressing challenges in these three categories from around the world.

This contest is for US colleges and universities based institutions, although international collaborations are acceptable, made up of teams of graduate or undergraduate students.  During the first phase, teams could win $15,000 and the chance to bring their ideas to Washington, DC to compete for the P3 Award  move onto the next round.  As many as 15 teams could win the award.  The second phase gives one lucky team a $90,000 grant to further their design and help move it to the market place.

Planet Forward is always looking for new innovative ideas, and where better to look than at the 3P Expo on the National Mall.  Of course, Planet Forward would love to see your innovations beforehand and give you the opportunity to hear from our idealists.  Your video may appear on our site and be ranked for viability!

So far we've seen great ideas!  Jennine Terrell, Dimple Kundiyana and Karithikeyan Ramachandriya from Oklahoma State University are using wind and carbon dioxide to produce ethanol.  Funding from the EPA has allowed Moe Alahmad and his team at the University of Nebraska–Omaha to develop a real-time monitor and controller to influence energy conservation behavior by impulse saving.  It has made it possible for Doug Douchon and his colleagues at UC-Riverside to investigate the possibility converting campus waste streams into locally used energy products through steam hydrogasification and methane reformation.

In addition, the University of Arkansas has come up with a great way to turn algae into biofuel.  Their hope is to find a more sensible way to drive energy efficiency based on the rate which algae grow.  The Columbia University Chapter of Engineers without Borders (CU-EWB) worked with the village of Obodan, Ghana to improve sanitation and access to water resources while focusing on developing methods to convert waste to energy via source-separated latrines.  All of the ideas presented for the EPA P3 contest have shown the dedication of the upcoming generation to improve the world.

Funding provided by the EPA has allowed Mickey Clemon and his group at Kansas University to research a way to use electric vehicles as a flexible storage source for energy in a smart grid, and using renewable energy to offset the demand for central electric generation.  Participation in the P3 competition has made it possible for Doug Douchon and his colleagues at UC-Riverside to investigate the possibility converting campus waste streams into locally used energy products through steam hydrogasification and methane reformation.

Do you have an innovative idea?

We welcome you to submit your videos and encourage your friends! We're going to be following the participants and tracking their success! The best idea featured on our site will be featured on our PBS Earth Day Special in April.

How do you move the Planet Forward? Tweet us @planet_forward or contribute to the conversation with your own story.