Fast food gets Vegawatt CHP

Massachusetts-based Owl Power Company claims a world first for its installation of a waste vegetable oil-fired on-site CHP at the Finz Seafood & Grill restaurant.

The so-called ‘Vegawatt’ device is an internal combustion engine which utilizes the waste vegetable oil from a deep fat fryer to produce 5 kWe and 15,000 BTU of hot water.

The fully automated system uses a four stage cleaning process to treat the waste oil and no chemicals need to be added to the 80 US gallons (about 320 litres) per week fuel requirement.

George Carey, owner of Finz Seafood & Grill in Dedham, Massachusetts, said the ‘system enables me to significantly reduce my energy costs, generate clean energy on-site, and very importantly, reduce the heavy energy footprint of my restaurant.’

Peter Christie, president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association added: ‘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. Vegawatt owners will achieve a value of $2.55 per gallon. New green energy incentives and Renewable Energy Certificates (REC’s) will increase the payback to the restaurant.’

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