Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Solar Powered Water Collection, Containment, and Self Regulating Distribution System

EPA Grant Number: SU834784
Title: Solar Powered Water Collection, Containment, and Self Regulating Distribution System
Investigators: Lilly, Brian
Current Investigators: Lilly, Brian , Polk, Ross , Ward, Thomas
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


In 2009, over 40 million pounds of Carbon Dioxide were released annually in an effort to water large planters. In addition, over 364 million gallons of water are used to maintain their health. By implementing a system within the planters that allows for onsite water storage with efficiently regulated on site watering, we are working to reduce planter maintenance costs and associated vehicles emissions by up to 90 percent, and reduce the amount of water used to maintain healthy plants. As a result, humans and the environment would enjoy the benefits of cleaner air, while municipalities would save millions of dollars annually.


Demonstrate the energy and water savings of a solar powered planter watering system. The planter will incorporate a solar powered watering system that measures soil moisture level, and have a capacity to recapture rain water for later use.


The team will be working with the University of Illinois grounds keeping department to conduct our research. The current level of effort in terms of labor, the amount of fossil fuels consumed, water usage, and additional transportation costs associated with planter watering will be benchmarked. We will incorporate our planters in selected locations and note the changes in these parameters.

Expected Results:

The team expects to see a significant reduction in the labor and carbon footprint associated with planter watering.

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report