In the context of New York City’s ambitious environmental goals, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is spearheading initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and divert all waste from landfills by 2030. Key among these efforts is the exploration of renewable energy and resource recovery projects within the water and wastewater operations. This includes actively pursuing the co-digestion of wastewater and food waste, tapping into the city’s massive daily food waste output as a renewable energy source. Following a successful pilot project in Brooklyn, the city is committed to expanding this approach, utilizing federal and state funding opportunities to accelerate the implementation.

Simultaneously, DEP is investigating the feasibility of capturing thermal energy from its wastewater collection system to address a significant portion of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions from building heating and cooling. New York City is partnering with FUSE to guide these initiatives, and FUSE Executive Fellow Mario De La Ossa will play a crucial role. Starting in April 2024, De La Ossa will establish relationships with key stakeholders, conduct a comprehensive review of best practices, and analyze the business case for biogas and thermal energy projects. By April 2025, De La Ossa aims to provide implementation plans, business models, and procurement strategies to propel these renewable energy systems forward, contributing to the city’s broader environmental impact goals.