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Georgia Southern Wins $90,000 EPA Grant to Reduce Pollution

Georgia Southern University has received two grants totaling $105,000 in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Student Design Competition for Sustainability. Mechanical Engineering students won for their design using alcohol and biofuel to power a diesel engine and lower emissions.

The students and Valentin Soloiu, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering and the Allen E. Paulson Chair of Renewable Energy, received the award in April during the competition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; however, they were just notified about the grant money that will be used to further develop their design and bring it to the marketplace.

“Students will work on formulating new biofuels and hybrid combustion technologies,” explained Soloiu. “They will develop hands-on projects in which they will use engineering-specific tools and analyses and report their results in a technical poster and a scientific paper. The project will include increasing participation of female, minority and other students underrepresented in engineering research careers.”

The University won a $15,000 EPA grant after the first stage of the competition to further develop their prototype. Students spent three years in the Renewable Energy and Engines Lab working to improve the design of Low Temperature Combustion (LTC) diesel engines which already reduce nitrogen oxide and soot emissions by more than 50 percent. Their award-winning diesel engine operates on n-Butanol and cottonseed oil which are biofuels produced from sustainable sources.

“This competition plays an important role in inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers to better understand, and through innovation and ingenuity more effectively solve, our world’s complex environmental problems,” said Lek Kadeli, principal deputy administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The P3 program gives this nation’s students the opportunity to apply their creative ideas to real world situations and protect our nation’s environment in a more sustainable fashion.”

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