U. student teams win grants for sustainability projects
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Two University of Utah engineering teams have won $15,000 grants for sustainability research.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday it will give design awards to a group focused on optimizing cookstove design in rural Nepal and another group working on treatments for polluted water from olive oil mills in the West Bank.

"I am excited to use the knowledge I have learned throughout my college career to help make a difference on the environment, as well as on the lives of many people who do not have access to the basics needs for a healthy life," says civil engineering undergraduate Jeff Huber, who is working on the Nepal project with civil engineering undergraduate Alexsys Smith, chemical engineering staff member Dana Overacker and mechanical engineer Dan Sweeney.

Andy Hong, a civil engineering professor at the U. and faculty mentor for the olive mill waste project, said the students in his group will not only be volunteering their time but also acquiring engineering skills, enriching their education curriculum and expanding their international experience. The team includes J. Earl, Ahmed Elmadhoun, Xinhua Li and D. Sweeney.

"This EPA project provides a great opportunity for the University of Utah team to tailor a low-cost, viable engineering solution to the proper disposal of wastes from olive oil production in the West Bank, where the current practice has resulted in significant environmental degradation," he said.

The EPA P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) grant competition has already awarded $675,000 to 45 college teams for projects aimed at improving quality of life, promoting economic development and protecting the planet. They will compete in April for $90,000 to help implement their technologies.

fahys@sltrib.com

Twitter: @judyfutah