Pee-cycling: Special toilet at U. Mich. takes aim at urine-to-fertilizer

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Top view of a man legs in front of urinal in men toilet

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan has installed a special toilet and urinal in a campus engineering building that take aim at converting human urine into agricultural fertilizers.

The split-bowl toilet is designed to send solid waste to a treatment plant, but route urine to a holding tank. Urine diverted from the toilet and urinal will be treated and eventually used to create fertilizers for agricultural use.

Tuesday’s opening of the facilities at the G.G. Brown building on the university’s Ann Arbor campus coincides with the launch of a survey to understand public opinion surrounding the technology.

The multi-state research effort is part of a $3 million National Science Foundation-funded project that’s billed as the country’s largest program examining the technological requirements and social attitudes related to urine-based fertilizers.