The Michigan Engineer News Center

CEE researchers collect urine on campus

CEE Professor Krista Wigginton and her lab team collected human urine on U-M’s central campus as part of an effort to raise awareness for the nation’s first urine recycling program.| Short Read

Wigginton is leading a Water Environment Research Foundation project in which the researchers are testing whether they can safely make fertilizer for food crops out of disinfected human urine.

In addition to reducing nutrients in water, recycling urine could streamline waste treatment. It could head off the emerging issue of pharmaceutical contamination, curb water use and even lessen the need to manufacture synthetic fertilizer.

“Currently, our agriculture and our wastewater treatment are open systems,” says Kim Nace, director of the Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro, Vt., a study participant. “It’s not a closed circle. But it could be. It could all go around and around in a complete cycle,” Nace told Michigan Engineering.

After the urine collection event, Kim Nace and Abe Noe-Hays of the Rich Earth Institute presented a seminar at U-M, which will be available online from MConneX.

The urine collection station was in the news on Michigan Radio.

Wigginton’s project is the focus of a Michigan Engineering piece called “Peecycling.” Read more here.

Jessica Petras


Jessica Petras
Marketing Communications Specialist

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

(734) 764-9876

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  • Krista Wigginton portrait

    Krista Wigginton

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

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