A US maker of industrial cutting tools has formerly unveiled a new cogeneration system.

The cogeneration plant at Simonds International burns natural gas to produce electricity and instead of venting the heat, spreads it throughout the building during the winter and uses the heat to run an air-conditioning system in the summer. The $6 million project is expected to pay for itself in four and a half years.

Simonds International has manufactured industrial cutting tools in Fitchburg for 179 years. The company has 150 employees, and Martino said the money saved from this system will help protect those jobs by keeping the company profitable.

Steven Clarke, the state’s assistant energy secretary, said the cogeneration system will save the company about 40 percent in energy costs.

Thomas Jacobsen, director of the Element Markets firm that has assisted Simonds International in meeting alternative-energy guidelines, said the plant will help reduce the load on the area electric grid and still gain state alternative-energy credits.

For more cogeneration news