ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan sees value in urine.

And it wants to know if others do, too.

The Ann Arbor school announced Tuesday that it has installed a toilet and urinal in a campus engineering building that take aim at converting human urine into fertilizers.

The split-bowl toilet is designed to send solid waste to a treatment plant, but route urine to a holding tank downstairs. Urine diverted from the toilet and urinal will be treated and eventually used to create fertilizers that will be applied on the grounds of the university’s botanical gardens.

Call it pee-cycling.

Tuesday’s opening of the facilities at the G.G. Brown building coincides with the launch of a survey to understand public opinion surrounding the technology. Urine contributors will have the opportunity to register their thoughts on a tablet computer situated in the restroom.

“It’s possible that when people are asked to contribute to a system where their urine is diverted and used as fertilizer they might feel a little queasy about this at first,” Michigan engineering professor Krista Wigginton said after cutting a ceremonial ribbon outside the women’s restroom. “And, so, a large part of this project is actually on the social science side, the education side, whether people are willing to adopt it.”

The multistate 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.

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