Student Driven Sustainability Initiatives

Tackling Tough Challenges in Creative Ways

This meeting showcases the efforts by 2 student teams that are working on sustainability issues here at the University of Michigan.

Topic 1:

Sfurti – Inclusive Urban Growth in India

Presented by three Dow Sustainability Award recipients:

Yash Shah, Energy Systems Engineering,

Olivia Lu Hill, Architecture,


Sean Murphy, Environmental Engineering

Sfurti, in Sanskrit describes agility. The rapidly growing cities of India need solutions as agile as its growth potential. While smart city solutions benefit the tech-savy middle income population of cities, we aim to use low-cost technological innovations to make this growth truly inclusive.

For more information, see the project website here.

Topic 2:

Peecycling: From Urine to Fertilizer

Heather Goetsch, Environmental Engineering, PhD student

In the first large-scale pilot project of its kind in the nation, the researchers are testing whether they can safely make fertilizer for food crops out of disinfected human urine. The project hinges on keeping waste streams separate, as our bodies do. Pee is mostly free of disease-causing germs. Liquid waste also carries the pharmaceutical byproducts and a majority of the nutrients – the nitrogen and phosphorus that loom as “one of the costliest and most challenging environmental problems we face,” according to an Environmental Protection Agency memo. As part of the project, the researchers will eventually use urine to make pellets of a solid fertilizer called struvite. It’s a mineral that sometimes forms in the body and can cause kidney stones. Lahr said it doesn’t have that ammonia odor.

For more information, see the project website here.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.