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Posted by Anne Cosgrove
Owl Power Company, developer and manufacturer of clean energy cogeneration systems, has announced Vegawatt™, a cogeneration system for restaurants and food service facilities. Vegawatt uses waste vegetable oil from any food service operation as a fuel to generate on-site electricity and hot water. Vegawatt is installed and has been running since December 2008 at Finz Seafood and Grill in Dedham, MA.
“As a restaurant operator, I am constantly looking for more efficient methods and especially for cost saving measures,” said George Carey, owner of Finz Seafood & Grill in Dedham, MA, the first establishment to install the Vegawatt system. “My largest line-item expense is runaway utility costs. The Vegawatt system enables me to reduce my energy costs, generate clean energy on-site, and very importantly, reduce the heavy energy footprint of my restaurant.”
The Vegawatt uses waste vegetable oil (WVO) from a restaurant deep fryer to prepare a non-toxic fuel. This fuel is used to produce electricity and hot water, which reduces electricity and natural gas purchases.
Any food service location with fryers can use the Vegawatt system. It is a fully automated system that requires no intervention or maintenance by restaurant staff, no additional chemicals, and produces no liquid byproducts.
“The Vegawatt is quite impressive,” stated Peter Christie, president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “It is a breakthrough in technology that will allow for a better environment while making use of oil that would normally be thrown out.”
Most restaurants pay to dispose of their used cooking oil. Some owners have begun to receive compensation for this oil, typically $0.10 to $0.25 per gallon. According to Owl Power Company, users of the Vegawatt system achieve a value of $2.55 per gallon. In the case of Finz Seafood and Grill, new green energy incentives and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) will increase the payback to the restaurant.
“As businesses everywhere are taking a hard look at their energy costs and their environmental impact, Vegawatt enables restaurant owners to help themselves and the planet at the same time,” stated James Peret, president and CEO of Massachussetts-based Owl Power Company.