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Monroe County Seeking to Turn Beer Waste into Ethanol to Power County Fleet

April 18, 2007

ROCHESTER, NY – Monroe County, N.Y., officials are developing a plan with High Falls Brewery Co. to turn beer waste into ethanol and produce enough of it to power much of the county’s fleet of vehicles. If all goes well, the county hopes to have extra available to offer ethanol-based fuel to the public, according to the Gannett News Service. Using ethanol for county vehicles would save taxpayers’ money and also would save High Falls about $300,000 a year because it would send less waste to the county’s Van Lare Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rochester.

The Coors brewery in Golden, Colo., is producing 3 million gallons of ethanol a year and is the largest operation of its kind in the country. Other brewers, including Anheuser-Busch and Miller, also produce ethanol, and Northeast Biofuels LLC is turning an old Miller brewery near Syracuse into the state’s first ethanol plant.

The county’s proposal calls for spending $3 million to $4 million to build a plant that can produce 300,000 gallons of ethanol a year. The county is also building a $9.7 million power plant at the Mill Seat landfill in Riga to turn landfill gas into power.

The county plans to construct an ethanol fueling station on Scottsville Road in Chili. If the ethanol plant is built, officials expect to have 60 of the county’s fleet of 250 light trucks running this year on E-85, a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline.

In order to build the brewery’s ethanol plant, the county hopes to tap into burgeoning pots of state and federal money designated for renewable energy projects.

With the 60 vehicles expected to run on E-85 by year’s end, the county estimates that it will save about $50,000 in fuel costs once the ethanol facility is up and running.

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