UC Davis Partners with Craft Brewery for Urine Research

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DAVIS -- UC Davis is partnering with Sudwerk Brewery to develop new technology, but they need your urine.

"We were approached by a UC Davis research group called URRG, which stands for Urine Recovery Research Group," Sudwerk cofounder Thomas Miller said.

Every time you go number one, you flush away potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Lots of it.

URRG has developed a prototype that separates those nutrients from the rest of your urine with the goal of turning it into fertilizer for farmers.

"We could extract a valuable fertilizer product, and it could be used for developing a local source of fertilizer for local agriculture systems," UC Davis researcher Harold Leverenz said.

Leverenz says the hope is that, one day, this technology could be used to help third-world countries who don't have steady access to farming necessities.

"The thing with fertilizers is a lot of developing countries don't have local sources of fertilizer," he told FOX40.

But before URRG can get their grant money, they need to prove their technology works, which means they need lots and lots of samples.

In order to collect those samples, URRG partnered with Sudwerk to set up a special urinal at the brewery.

"Here at the brewery we happen to brew a lot of beer and, consequently, we produce a lot of urine," Miller said.

On a busy day, the brewery gets anywhere from 60 to 200 customers, which means a lot of beer, which means a lot of trips to the bathroom and a lot of donations to science.

URRG's goal is to collect a thousand liters of urine each week.