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Whole Foods to Recycle Waste Vegetable Oil for Power

Cambridge, Mass. Whole Foods Market is making history as the first company in the United States to generate its electricity needs on-site using recycled cooking oil generated from its commissary kitchen and 21 store locations.

The 45,000-sq.-ft. commissary building, located in Everett, Mass., supplies prepared foods and other products to 43 Whole Foods in New England as well as New York and New Jersey. It operates around the clock and uses some 1,200 gallons of cooking oil each week.

Waste biomall cogeneration, also known as waste biomass combined heat and power, is a popular green alternative to generate power that is widely used in Europe. But it is considered a new technology in the United States.

“The system will be connected into the commissary’s electric distribution system and operate in parallel with National Grid’s utility lines in an effort to self-generate electricity to relieve congestion on its transmission and distribution systems and decrease our carbon footprint,” said Kathy Loftus, global leader, sustainable engineering, maintenance and energy for Whole Foods Market.

The waste oil will be used as a biofuel in a cogeneration module using an internal combustion engine to generate electricity and usable heat, to offset some of the utility costs for the facility.

The generator will have the capacity to meet the electricity needs of the entire commissary, just over 2,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year.

© 2014