New York City Housing Authority

At a Glance


Public Housing Authority

Project Type

Food and Agriculture




New York, NY


Jed Higdon 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 Jed Higdon 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.


Jed focused his efforts on three key areas:

  • Select a site that is suitable for micro-AD among NYCHA’s >300 developments based on potential input sources, output destinations, and adjacent infrastructure. Jed created a series of map tools using GIS that can be filtered based on relevant criteria to identify suitable sites.

  • Identify the best use cases for biogas, the renewable energy produced through anaerobic digestion. Jed explored options for burning the gas directly in addition to converting the gas to electricity, and providing amenities such as e-bike charging, using energy calculations from other digesters. 

Engage with stakeholders both internal and external to NYCHA to generate interest and feedback from relevant parties across New York. These conversations will inform future decision making around micro-AD at NYCHA. 

Potential Impact

Jed 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. 

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