Timon Singh

Could New York City be Powered by Its Own Sewage?

by , 02/14/11

department of Environmental Protection, new york sewage power, new york sewage, new york sewage butanol, new york city sewage, new york department environmental, new york methane

New York is one of the greatest cities in the world and home to almost 20 million people — however as a result of its size, the city produces an enormous amount of sewage, which is often blamed for contaminating waterways. However New York’s Department of Environmental Protection believes the city’s waste could become its saviour, and it has unveiled a plan to utilise the vast amounts of sludge, methane gas and other byproducts of sewage as potential sources of renewable energy.

department of Environmental Protection, new york sewage power, new york sewage, new york sewage butanol, new york city sewage, new york department environmental, new york methane

According to the New York Times, the city is looking to reduce its sewage treatment costs and the amount of greenhouse gases that it produces by transforming waste into energy for the city’s large population. If sewage is simply heated up then butanol and methane can be extracted from it. Butanol can be used as an alternative to gasoline, while methane can be used for multiple purposes including heating homes.

If a sustainable method can be found to generate power from the city’s waste, then it would save the city $400 million per year. According to the city’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection Caswell F. Holloway, it is quite possible: “There’s nothing in here that’s pie in the sky”. “While we’re early in the process, it’s real.”

New Yorkers generate some 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater daily, and it is estimated that almost 1,200 tons of sludge could be harvested from that waste to generate methane and butanol. The city is already a big user of methane — the city’s 14 sewage plants currently meet about 20% of their energy demands by harvesting the fuel source.

Other plans devised by the city’s agency includes the installation of solar and wind projects on Staten Island, including one that would place solar panels on the 200,000-square-foot roof of the Port Richmond Wastewater Treatment Plant. Meanwhile, a 1.5-megawatt wind turbine is planned for the Oakwood Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Waste to power plants could transform an environmental problem into a source of energy for the big apple.

+ New York Department of Environmental Protection

Via The New York Times

Lead photo © Christopher Isherwood

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2 Comments

  1. Haj hosszabbitas mester... August 30, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Great post, really inspired me.

  2. jlangvad February 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Sir – New York is a great city for sure. However, you are overestimating the size. The population is 8.4m for the City. New York state entirely has 19.3m.

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