Michelle Reddinger, a senior environmental engineering student from Baldwinsville, was a member of one of two Clarkson University teams that were recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and awarded a People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Award for sustainability at the Sixth Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Reddinger's team presented a project titled "Farm Waste to Energy: A Sustainable Solution for Small-Scale Farms." The students are developing and optimizing viable anaerobic digester technology for diary farms in cold climates with 50 or fewer cows. The digesters would utilize dairy manure and other co-substrates on small farms to create biogas for energy production. The team, which is advised by professors Stefan J. Grimberg, Shane Rogers and Rick Welsh, also won a P3 Student Choice Award.
Each team will receive a $75,000 grant from the EPA to further develop their design, implement it in the field, or move it to the marketplace.
Clarkson University is the first school ever to win two awards in one year.
"It's a wonderful tribute to the quality and vision of the Clarkson students that both teams were among the teams that received P3 Awards," said Cynthia Nolt-Helms, EPA's P3 Award program director.
The award competition and expo was held at EPA's 40th anniversary celebration of Earth Day, April 23 to 26. Winners of the P3 awards developed sustainable projects and ideas that protect the environment, encourage economic growth and use natural resources more efficiently.
"The opportunity that this competition provides for our students to interact with the general public and the EPA is great," said Powers. "The competition was in a large tent on the Mall. All of the EPA 40th anniversary activities were in the same tent, so that brought a really diverse audience to our displays. The weekend was a non-stop stream of visitors, with judges, the general public, other P3 teams and some important EPA dignitaries stopping to talk to our students."