Startup transforms heat from restaurant kitchen into energy

Swedish entrepreneurs find a way to harness the hot air produced from cooking as a source of energy for buildings

Heat in the kitchen can be a problem. But also a solution. It all depends on the technology used. Considering a device developed by a Swedish startup called Enjay, kitchen vapors can even help combat the global warming, in case.

This is because the company found a way to transform heat in the kitchen into energy that can be used by other systems and equipment, as reported by BBC News.

This is the Lepido, a metal heat exchange box that uses the hot air produced during the cooking processes. Without the device, what is traditionally done is to expel this air outside the building where the restaurant is located, wasting the energy potential of the steam.

The innovation brought by Lepido is in how it deals with the dirt present in kitchen steam.

Arne Spperfork, a professor specializing in thermodynamics at the Hamburg University of Technology, Germany, explains that the Enjay apparatus was designed so that particles of fat and soot from kitchen steam pass through its metal coils without sticking to them.

In this way, hot air can then be pumped through pipes carrying cold water. Once heated, the liquid can be used to heat other parts of the building.

The new technology has meant a breather in restaurants’ monetary and environmental accounts.

According to calculations by Nils Lekeberg, co-founder of Enjay, a medium-sized restaurant can reduce its energy costs by up to 90% per year and reduce its annual carbon footprint by 30 tons with the adoption of Lepido.

Operating in several franchises in Nordic countries, the equipment has been used in the United Kingdom and already has several orders in the United States and Canada.

Cold water shower in the heat in the kitchen

However, there is still a cold shower in Lepido's sales expansion plans: its price. The average cost of purchasing and installing this heat exchanger is about US$ 30 thousand, or R$ 150 thousand.

To counter the impression that it is too expensive, Nils Lekeberg draws attention to the return on investment, which he calculates in 1 or 2 years.

A restaurant franchise owner in the city of Malmö, in southern Sweden, corroborates this data. According to him, the acquisition of Lepido has meant annual savings of US$ 16 thousand, or around R$ 80 thousand, on the establishment's energy bills.

Enjay also sees the potential of its product in relation to increases in energy prices. In this sense, investing in heat recovery technologies becomes even more rewarding. On the other hand, Lepido's competitor turbines are starting to heat up. A small British company called Dext also developed a device with the same functional proposal as that created by Enjay. Apparently, the heat in the kitchen is really on fire in terms of the market.

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