The University of Michigan Environmental Engineering Department recently received a five-year, $5 million National Science Foundation grant to work on recycling urine. The project, which began last fall at the G.G. Brown Laboratory, looks at both the social aspects of whether or not people would be open to the use of recycled urine, as well as the technical side of how to process the urine in a way that will be beneficial implementing the NSF’s core nexus of “food, energy, and water.”
Urine is separated from other waste flushed down the toilets of the lab building in a process called urine diversion, then collected and recycled by engineering students. The goal of the recycling: to create a fertilizer for agricultural crops. The products will soon be tested on select areas of the gardens of Nichols Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens.