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New York City Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway, department of environmental protection (DEP) commissioner Carter Strickland, and sanitation commissioner John Doherty disclosed two new partnerships that will reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills, produce a reliable source of clean energy and improve air quality.

 

Waste Management has begun delivering pre-processed organic food waste to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant where it is added to wastewater sludge to increase the production of biogas. In addition, a first-of-its kind project with National Grid will convert the biogas by-product into pipeline quality renewable natural gas for residential and commercial use. Together, these projects have the potential to produce enough energy to heat nearly 5,200 New York City homes, reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90,000 metric tons and help city government reach its goal of reducing municipal greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017.

Biogas, which is mostly methane, is a by-product of the wastewater treatment process. Methane is also the main component of natural gas. DEP currently reuses approximately 40 percent of the biogas produced at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the new partnership with National Grid will ensure that 100 percent of it goes to beneficial reuses and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions from the plant. National Grid will finance the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the biogas purification system, and initially DEP will provide the biogas free of charge. Once project costs have been recouped, profits will be split between DEP and National Grid’s customers. Construction of the purification system will begin in 2014 and is expected to be completed in 2015.

Over the summer of 2013, Waste Management’s Varick I transfer facility in Brooklyn began processing organic food waste collected from local schools into a liquefied feedstock using the company’s Centralized Organic Recycling equipment process. The feedstock is delivered in sealed tankers to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant where it is added to wastewater sludge to produce additional biogas. Waste Management is currently processing 2 tons per day of organic waste at the Varick I facility and plans to increase its volume to 5 to 10 tons per day during the initial pilot phase, with the potential to raise capacity to 250 tons per day over the next 3 years. If the pilot proves successful, there is the potential to process up to 500 tons of organic food waste per day at the Newtown Creek Plant.

Published in the March 2014 Edition of American Recycler News