energy

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Five big new tanks have arrived at the F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica. But they won't be used to make the brewery's signature Saranac brand craft beer.

Instead, the tanks will act as anaerobic digesters for the brewery's wastewater.

Special bacteria will munch on the yeast and grains left floating around. The process will get the water about 85 percent cleaner before it's discharged into the sewer system, according to CEO Nick Matt.

But the digestion process also gives off methane gas and carbon dioxide.

That methane will be used to power a generator. CEO Matt says the new system will cover up to 40 percent of the brewery's electricity needs.

arimoore via Flickr; taken by Attorney Helen Slottje

Earth Day came and went in New York  without too much discussion of what many environmentalists believe to be the biggest issue facing the state- when and where the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking will  occur.

We're drilling for gas, planning pipes from Canadian tar sands, and pumping millions of dollars into green energy projects.  

But the energy mix that we'll end up with in New York State is still a work in progress. What do we want to see powering our toasters and laptops in the years to come?

We've posed those questions to a panel of experts, to find out what's being built, how the marketplace might shake out, and what the social and political ramifications are of how we produce and consume power.

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