New York City Housing Authority

At a Glance


Public Housing Authority

Project Type

Food and Agriculture




New York, NY


Abby Brown concluded that micro-AD has the potential to reduce pests, odor, and the cost of waste removal at NYCHA.


With NYCHA residents accounting for 1 in 15 New Yorkers, estimates show that roughly 500,000 pounds of organic waste is produced daily at NYCHA developments. NYCHA is exploring different options for on-site processing of organic waste including expanding 3-bin composting, in-vessel composting and biodigesters, and micro anaerobic digestion (micro AD). NYCHA enlisted Abby Brown to research the feasibility of micro-AD for on-site organics processing due to its added benefits of providing renewable energy alongside nutrient-rich plant food.


Brown spearheaded the volume and cost calculations and the permitting review:

  • Input-Output Calculator: Abby created this tool to calculate the volumes of micro-AD system inputs and outputs, evaluate desired end-use cases for the biogas, and to compare storage and throguhput capacities to the unit capabilities. 

  • Cost Calculator: Abby created a cost calculator that will grow with the project. It calculates both capital and annual costs of installing and operating a micro-AD at a NYCHA campus.
  • Permitting Evaluation: Abby spoke with stakeholders at NYDSEC, DOB, FDNY, DEP, and DSNY to evaluate the permitting landscape for micro-AD. Particularly in NYC, this is an uncharted landscape.

Potential Impact

Abby developed a case study along with tools to help NYCHA structure planning around a possible Micro-AD implementation, including site selection, evaluation of end-use cases for biogas and digestate, and calculators to estimate material input and output volumes. The fellow leaves NYCHA with guidance on the financial, operational, and regulatory requirements to implement this system. 

Related Links