PhD Student Engineered a Way to Change Pee into Fertilizer

Shelby Rogers

William Tarpeh spends his hours in a lab working turning pee into liquid fertilizer.

The environmental engineering PhD student from UC Berkeley uses the nitrates from fermented pee to convert it to fertilizer. Tarpeh hopes his research could make sanitation self-funding.

"How can we create value from something that's normally waste? And in doing so generate the money that will help us proliferate more toilets?" he said in an interview with DNews.

His biggest challenge, however, comes in scaling up his research exponentially. He said his lab currently filters through 5 liters of urine a day, but he'd need to functionally treat 5,000 liters a day.