Incentives Bring Renewable Energy Technology to Maker of Saranac Beers, Increasing Energy Efficiency While Treating Wastewater and Reducing Company Expenses, with Funding Assistance from NYSERDA and National Grid
UTICA, N.Y. - F. X. Matt Brewing Co., New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and National Grid today unveiled a new biogas-to-power system that will use brewing wastewater to generate electricity through a process known as anaerobic digestion.
The 400 kilowatt (kW) system will produce enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 400 homes. The system provides an additional energy benefit through a combined heat and power (CHP) element as it will recycle part of the waste heat to keep the digestion process at temperatures necessary for optimum conditions.
NYSERDA provided a $1 million incentive to Matt Brewing Co., the second-oldest family brewery in the nation. In addition, the company will receive a maximum of $750,000 in funding from National Grid, as well as federal tax credits. Total project cost is $5 million.
The project will provide between 35 and 40 percent of the company's daily power needs and reduce electricity costs by approximately $350,000 annually. It will have an expected payback of five to six years. In addition to reducing power from the electric grid, the processer will reduce the amount of wastewater that the local sewage treatment center must process, further increasing the energy efficiency impact.
The technology has several steps. Organic wastewater from the brewing process, mostly wastewater, is pumped into a large holding tank instead of discharging into the sewer system. Then it is pumped to the five digester tanks where bacteria digest the wastewater, creating a methane-rich biogas. The biogas is then burned to produce electricity.
"With Governor Cuomo's strong support of investments in clean energy, New York State continues to build leadership in this important sector of the economy, and projects like this one further this effort," said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. "NYSERDA is pleased to support Matt Brewing's use of clean-energy power technology, helping to improve power reliability and reduce electric costs for a thriving business while also benefiting the environment."
Funding for Matt comes from NYSERDA's Anaerobic Digester Gas-to-Electricity Program, which provides funding of up to $1 million to support the purchase, installation, and operation of ADG-to-Electricity Systems in New York State. A total of $57 million is available on a first-come, first-serve basis through 2015.
"National Grid is focused on making energy investments that enable our customers to reduce their usage and bills, and help keep the air clean in surrounding communities," said Ken Daly, president of National Grid, New York. "Central New York is brimming with opportunity to distinguish itself in sustainable energy research and development and New York State is once again demonstrating a leadership role in promoting clean energy. National Grid is proud to work with Matt Brewing Company and NYSERDA to help the company accomplish its energy goals and to ensure the region's alternative energy strengths are fully utilized to create economic and business development opportunities."
National Grid's Renewable Energy and Economic Development program funds projects located in the company's service area that demonstrate alternative generation technologies while producing significant economic development benefits for the region. The program provides matching grants of up to $750,000 for collaborative projects that involve an upstate research institution, one or more renewable energy, energy storage or clean transportation technology partners, and a regional economic development sponsor. Eligible generation technologies include, but are not limited to, solar, photovoltaic, geothermal, biomass, and anaerobic digestion. Since the inception of the program in 2010, several upstate New York companies have participated in the program and were awarded a total of $2.5 million in funding.
Matt, which began operation in 1888, is most widely known for its Saranac line of beers and sodas, but also brews a variety of craft beverages for other labels. The firm, which employs approximately 120 people, is current owned and operated by the third and fourth generations of the Matt family, Nick (chairman and CEO) and Fred (president) respectively.
"This anaerobic digestion facility is a fascinating project. We're creating energy from waste, and our company is benefiting from it," said Nick Matt. "We are very thankful to NYSERDA and National Grid for providing the funding to make this clean-energy project possible."
Matt produces about 330,000 barrels of beer and soda, or the equivalent of 4.5 million cases of 12-ounce bottles a year. The company first committed to the project in 2010 with Environmental Management Group International, Inc. based in Media, PA, as the lead system design engineers. Construction on the digester system began in early 2012, with installation of a 200,000-gallon wastewater equalization tank, five 40,000-gallon Anaerobic Fluidized Bed Digester (AFBD) tanks and the power-generation equipment.
Matt's brewing process creates wastewater from cleaning out brewing vessels and aging vats daily. The wastewater is saturated with organic materials, which will be broken down by bacteria in the digestion process. The system will treat an average of 150,000 gallons of water each day, or 50 million gallons per year, generating up to 400 kW-per-hour of electricity that will be used by the brewery.
"The Matt Family has demonstrated in this project that they not only have a proud heritage in Utica's past, they have a wonderful vision for a clean energy future," said Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C-IP, Rome). "This project makes tremendous business sense and also helps move the city of Utica into the position of being an innovator in clean energy projects involving cutting-edge private sector firms. The partnership that is making this project happen is a sign of the type of public-private collaboration that can bring not only new forms of energy to the community, but new jobs and economic growth. I want to thank the Matt Family and Brewery leadership for their vision, and all of the state partners at NYSERDA who helped bring this idea to fruition."
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Alan Wechsler, NYSERDA
(518) 862-1090 ext. 3561