By Rob Jordan

Stanford researchers working on low-cost technology to provide safe drinking water to millions received prestigious federal recognition recently.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a $15,000 grant and the opportunity to compete for up to $90,000 to a team advised by Jenna Davis, associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute. The team, the Stanford Dhaka Water Project, is developing a device to disinfect drinking water without relying on electricity or moving parts. The in-line chlorinator is designed for low-income urban areas that rely on shared drinking water points and is being tested in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The EPA awarded the grant as part of the first phase of its annual People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability (P3), which is focused on developing “sustainable technologies to help protect people’s health and the environment while promoting economic development.” 

“This year’s P3 teams are made up of emerging environmental leaders who are part of the future of environmental and public health protection,” Lek Kadeli, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development, said in a news release. “These P3 grants encourage the growth of small businesses focused on developing innovative technologies to combat environmental issues.”

In April the Stanford team will bring its design to Washington to participate in EPA’s National Sustainable Design Expo. During the event, a panel of scientific experts will judge student projects. Winners will receive a P3 award and recommendation for a second-phase grant of up to $90,000 to further develop their designs and prepare them for the marketplace.

Members of the team include Davis, Valerie Bauza, Kara Bennett, Keegan Cooke, Yoshika Crider, Camil Diaz, Isaac Madan and project lead Amy Pickering.

Photo (by Amy Pickering): Woman collecting drinking water in Dhaka Bangladesh.