CORAL GABLES, FL--(Marketwired - Sep 10, 2013) - The Odebrecht Award for Sustainable Development unveiled the winners of this year's program last night at an awards ceremony in Miami. University of Cincinnati students Ethan Jacobs, Qingshi Tu, and Ronald Gillespie clinched the top prize with an idea that offers value across the supply chain, not only acting as a remedy for wastewater treatment plants, but also contributing to the energy security and environmental sustainability of the United States.

Advised by Professor Mingming Lu, the team's "Using Trap Grease as the Raw Material for Biodiesel Feedstock Production" tackles one of the largest unseen wastes in society -- the wastewater stream containing substances such as fats, oils, and greases. Their proprietary Waste Grease Extraction process allows extracting these substances from the municipal wastewater stream and using menial processing to convert them into a low-cost biodiesel feedstock.

Competition is open to students nationwide. The award, which includes cash prizes totaling $65,000, invites university students to search for innovative technologies and methods to promote sustainable and responsible development. Odebrecht USA, headquartered in Florida, and Braskem America, based in Philadelphia, sponsor the U.S. competition.

At the event, Alina Hudak, Miami-Dade County Deputy Mayor, welcomed guests and presented all finalists with an official congratulatory certificate. Keynote speaker Mitch Maidique, President Emeritus of Florida International University, talked about the importance of leadership for the greater good, encouraging all to listen, be grateful, and to be persistent. Odebrecht executives, clients, partners, and community leaders attended the event but it was the students who captivated the audience with their ideas, creativity, and eloquence.

A team from University of California Berkeley took second place, as students David Campbell, Henry Kagey, Vivek Rao, and Advising Professor Slawomir Hermanowicz submitted the proposal "Solar Photocatalytic Greywater Recycling in Building Facades." The project was co-advised by Professor Maria Paz Gutierrez.

Third place went to students Amanda Velazquez, Paola Davalos, and Sergio Baltodano, advised by Professor Andres Tremante, from Florida International University (FIU), whose entry was "Education, Renewable Energy and Disaster Resistant Housing for Rural Haiti: An Integrated Design for Reconstruction." Las year, FIU received a special recognition for having the highest number of entries making it to the top 15 ranked projects. This year, Johns Hopkins University received a similar recognition.

This is the second year of the Odebrecht Award in the United States. Winners of the inaugural 2012 program were honored last October in Houston. A team from Rice University captured first place, followed by Johns Hopkins University in second, and North Carolina State University in third.

Almost 600 students from 204 academic institutions have participated in the competition to date. Award entries are judged on content, technical contributions, applicability, clarity of presentation, and depth of reasoning.

About Odebrecht
Founded in 1944 in Brazil, the Odebrecht Organization is today a diversified business leader that operates in more than 25 countries and employs more than 185,000 people worldwide. Odebrecht USA opened its office in 1990, and since then it has successfully delivered projects throughout the United States. Odebrecht has a particular emphasis on public-sector infrastructure projects of vital importance.

About Braskem
Braskem is the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas. With 36 industrial plants in Brazil, the United States and Germany, the company produces over 35 billion pounds of thermoplastic resins and other petrochemicals per year. Braskem is the world's leading biopolymers producer with its 440 million pound green polyethylene plant that produces polyethylene from sugarcane-based ethanol.

Documents and/or Photos available for this release:

2013 Odebrecht Award Winners
2013 Odebrecht Award Ceremony in Miami

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Contact Information:

Thais Reiss
Corporate Communications
Phone: (305) 341-8800