New York City is about to become the proud owner of the biggest wastewater biogas plant, which will supply sustainable energy to the national grid, thanks to the Newtown Creek project. The new technology is a real breakthrough, which has the potential to convert 100% of the food waste and wastewater into gas, which is perfectly suitable for direct commercial use.
Newtown Creek is by far the largest wastewater biogas plant in the US. Until now, the plant has been using the sludge generated from waterwaste and in combination with food waste, it has been able to produce biogas which powers operations at the plant. A new project initiated by the facility management, however, now has the aim to expand the digesters currently operating at the plant so that they can collect much bigger quantities of waste and convert this into usable biogas.
The whole idea is that the digesters provide the perfect conditions for microbes to grow, take up the organic waste and generate gas, while improving the process of cleaning up wastewater without having to use almost any energy. Besides the gas, the sludge that is produced during the process, can then be used as a fertilizer to grow even more biomass. The process is unique because it provides a way to generate biogas that is not wet and rich in carbon dioxide, making it suitable for direct use in the national grid.
If the project is successful, and frankly there is no reason to think otherwise, it could provide a great example to wastewater treatment start-ups. The technology will dramatically bring down the cost, making it much more affordable for smaller projects to take off. It will also provide a solution to one of the biggest problems of our society- that of generating more waste than we can actually handle.
Image (c) NYC Environmental Protection