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Dayton Engineer

ETHOS student gains technical engineering experience at Rich Earth Institute in Vermont

By Brianna Dooley, The ETHOS Center

Cole Teranes, senior mechanical engineering major at the University of Dayton, is using his fall 2020 semester to gain technical engineering experience through a School of Engineering ETHOS Center immersion with the Rich Earth Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Through research, education and technical innovation, Rich Earth Institute recycles and transforms human urine into sustainable fertilizer. Through the Urine Nutrient Reclamation Project, the Institute develops tools and technologies necessary for the collection, treatment and agricultural reuse of urine.

Teranes was inspired to participate in an ETHOS immersion after joining an ETHOS breakout to Blue Rock Station in Philo, OH, where he became interested in sustainable living. “In previous industry internships, I did not get to do stimulating work or get many opportunities to take on responsibilities and work on my own projects. Everyone I spoke to about ETHOS immersions made it obvious that I could undertake more responsibility and get valuable experience,” claims Teranes. 

At Rich Earth Institute, Teranes has been working on the development of a urine treatment system that works on a building scale. “[My] project involves building components of the system and testing them to ensure they work as intended under a variety of conditions,” says Teranes. He has enjoyed diving into technical research, and has realized that “to make an impact, you have to be willing to jump into problems headfirst.”

Teranes is thankful to have been able to continue his work at Rich Earth Institute amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute's large research center allows for ample air ventilation and physical distancing, which in addition to necessary sanitation methods and mask wearing, has allowed treatment processes to continue. 


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