Carnegie Mellon University: PURIFLUME
Students at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) used C3 funding to create and install a mobile urban water re-use system. This system employs a series of holding cisterns, utilizing slow sand filtration, and integrating UV Sterilization technologies to demonstrate the conversion of light sewage water into a potable water source.
Mounted on a mobile platform and designed as a playful water feature for children, this prototype urban water filtration system is still being used to help educate public officials and the public about the value of these systems in supporting overall urban water sustainability policy.
Georgia Institute of Technology: Green Phoenix
Students from used the Ford C3 award to build an energy-independent urban farm in an area of Downtown Atlanta that had been designated as an urban "Food Desert." This farm produces fresh food for inner-city residents and also cultivates "food fiber fuel" (biomass) to be used as a renewable energy producer and an economic development engine for the community.
The project goal is to create the nation’s first net-zero energy use urban farm. The community partner is the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, and the farm site is located across the street from the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. Martin Luther King once preached.
Kettering University: Application of Rainwater Collection and Irrigation for Urban Farming
Kettering University students teamed up with a former partner, Harvesting Earth Educational Farm (a 2010 Ford C3 project), to provide the non-profit's greenhouse with an irrigation solution using solar energy, rain collection, and ground/well water.
The project utilized natural resources in a sustainable way and also provided hands-on learning for students in a very public, urban agricultural project in downtown Flint. The successful application of sustainable water strategies has great potential for replication in cities around the world struggling with the issues of fresh food and water shortages.
Read: $50,000 from Ford C3
Michigan Technological University: Sustainable Transportation Partnership
Michigan Technological University students worked to develop and implement a sustainable bus transit action plan for the Houghton and Hancock metro area. This project brought Michigan Tech Enterprise students together with the cities of Houghton and Hancock, and the Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region (WUPPDR) office to critically analyze the current transit system operations. The data collection was used to develop a Transit Sustainability Model (TSM) to characterize the economic, social, and environmental sustainability components of the local transit systems.
The plan also included a promotional strategy to reintroduce area residents to the transit system and increase ridership. Specific GPS and other wireless communication technologies were designed, built, and utilized to help better inform riders. Finally, the transit model was used to analyze the effects of using alternative fuels for the buses, including the possibility of electrification of the bus fleet.