UC Davis Researchers Streamline Fertilizer Production

UC Davis Researchers Streamline Fertilizer Production. WEF Highlights, November 11, 2016.

University of California, Davis (UCD) researchers are thinking outside of the box, using urine collected in the community to develop a more environmentally friendly fertilizer.

Harold Leverenz, lecturer and project scientist for the civil and environmental engineering program at UCD, works with his research team to create all-natural, locally sourced fertilizers.

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While Sudwerk Brewery (Davis, Calif.) also features classic indoor restrooms, patrons who choose to use the Pee Hive receive a $1 discount on their purchases in addition to the knowledge that they are contributing to science. Photo courtesy of George Tchobanoglous, University of California, Davis.

His unique process, which offers significant energy and water savings over traditional fertilizer production methods, collects high amounts of plant nutrients from an unlikely source — the urine from customers of a local brewery.

Through a unique partnership with Sudwerk Brewery (Davis, Calif.) and generous donations from project contributors, Leverenz and his team have secured about 132 L (35 gal) of nitrogen- and phosphorous-rich urine each week since installing a specialized outhouse made from a sawed-off beer keg outside Sudwerk’s tasting room in June. Leverenz is hopeful that the collection rate will increase as UCD students settle into a new school year.

Read the complete article.

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