Monday, January 26, 2009

Greasy Business

Link of the day - Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things

Who said fat was bad for you? Vegawatt focuses on the upside of grease, turning restaurants' waste oil into electricity and hot water.

Vegawatt's refrigerator-sized units are incorporated into a building's existing system in the same way as a solar panel is retrofitted. After filtering a restaurant's used vegetable oil, the unit combusts the refined fuel in a diesel engine, feeding electricity and hot water straight into a restaurant's system. The units won't provide all the power and electricity that a business needs, but can significantly improve its carbon footprint and running costs, as a unit typically provides 10-25% of electricity requirements.

Leasing the system for five years costs USD 435 per month, with potential fuel savings calculated at USD 850 per month. Alternatively, the system can be purchased for USD 22,000 outright, paying for itself within three years, according to Vegawatt. And that's without taking governmental incentives and rebates into account. Businesses further benefit by not having to pay or arrange for used oil to be removed, and also receive credits towards LEED certification. Last but not least, there's the reputation boost gleaned from going green.

Vegawatt was developed by the Owl Power Company, a clean energy system company based in Massachusetts, and was launched this month. Planet-friendly, pocket-friendly, and good for PR... Time to put fries back on the menu? ;-)


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