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A research team of WPI students working to tackle harmful algal blooms was chosen for nearly $75,000 in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The project was one of 16 teams that the EPA selected to receive a grant to mark the 20th anniversary of its People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Program. The program funds college-student projects that research and develop innovative solutions to address environmental and public health challenges.

The WPI team’s project, “3D-Printed Floating Photocatalyst Structures that Mimic Natural Objects to Combat Harmful Algal Blooms,” will create 3D-printed floating structures designed to mimic natural objects that serve as photocatalysts, which have been shown to break down cyanobacteria and associated toxins. Ultimately, the work will combat the pressing issue and effects of algal blooms, such as those that occur frequently in Indian Lake in Worcester, where the students expect to conduct some of their work.

The two-year project will include master’s and undergraduate students in mechanical & materials engineering and robotics engineering in the Robotics Material Group; and principal investigators Professor Pratap Rao (mechanical & materials engineering), Professor Markus Nemitz (robotics engineering), and postdoctoral fellow Ceren Yilmaz Akkaya (mechanical & materials engineering). 

The project represents the research team’s commitment to environmental preservation and innovation.

Learn more about the project in the EPA’s awards announcement.