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ODU Engineers Algae Processing Technique Selected for EPA Competition
September 17, 2013

A team of Old Dominion University engineering students has earned a spot in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) competition in Washington, D.C., next April, where they and students from other top research universities in the country will showcase new sustainable technology initiatives at National Sustainable Design Expo 2014.

The students, advised by Sandeep Kumar, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology, will bring a revolutionary algae processing technique to the competition, one where key nutrients are removed from the algae using a proprietary process before it’s turned into fuel.

The race is on to find sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels to meet the globe’s soaring demand for transportation fuel. A recent report from the National Research Council determined that converting 5 percent of transportation fuels (more than 10 billion gallons per year) to algae-based biofuels would place unsustainable demands on energy, water and nutrients if produced with current technologies.

The ODU team is one of 45 nationwide selected to advance in the P3 Phase I competition. For this first phase, teams are awarded a $15,000 grant to develop their idea. Following next year’s National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, a handful of teams will be awarded grants of $90,000 to take their designs to real-world application.

Early next April on the National Mall, the ODU delegation will join hundreds of students, scientists, nonprofits and federal officials exhibiting their innovations. For the P3 competition, the student teams will offer sustainable solutions to real-world problems in both the developing and developed world in categories such as water, energy, agriculture, chemicals and green infrastructure.

This article reprinted from materials provided by Old Dominion University.

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