EDUCATION

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

  • Abe Noe-Hays, director of research at the Vermont-based Rich Earth Institute, left, and Nancy Love, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Michigan cut the ribbon to a men's bathroom with a special toilet at the University of Michigan engineering building, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The toilet is part of a multi-state project researching the conversion of human urine into fertilizer. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Abe Noe-Hays, director of research at the Vermont-based Rich Earth Institute, left, and Nancy Love, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Michigan cut the ribbon to a men's bathroom with a special toilet at the University of Michigan engineering building, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The toilet is part of a multi-state project researching the conversion of human urine into fertilizer. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo shows a special toilet in a women's stall at the University of Michigan engineering building Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The toilet which diverts urine and solid waste is part of a multi-state project researching the conversion of human urine into fertilizer. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    This photo shows a special toilet in a women's stall at the University of Michigan engineering building Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The toilet which diverts urine and solid waste is part of a multi-state project researching the conversion of human urine into fertilizer. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)  (The Associated Press)

  • Abe Noe-Hays, director of research at the Vermont-based Rich Earth Institute describes the filtration system he helped develop to turn urine into fertilizer at the University of Michigan engineering building, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Engineering researchers at the school are leading the effort that received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    Abe Noe-Hays, director of research at the Vermont-based Rich Earth Institute describes the filtration system he helped develop to turn urine into fertilizer at the University of Michigan engineering building, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Engineering researchers at the school are leading the effort that received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)  (The Associated Press)

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.