Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Fryer Exhaust Heat Recovery (ST7380-1)

Modern Energy Technology


Frito-Lay operates a production facility located in Binghamton, New York. Among a variety of snack foods, potato chips are one of the plant's main product lines. Raw potatoes consist primarily of water (~85 percent) that is driven off during the frying process. To do so, high pressure steam at about 300 psig is used to heat cooking oil in a covered vat. Fumes exhausted from the hood through a powered vent consist mainly of water vapor (~70 percent by volume), air (~30 percent) and traces of cooking oil. Low grade heat at about 160ºF can be recovered from this exhaust stream by condensing the entrained water vapor. It was determined there would be sufficient thermal demand to justify recovering up to 10 MMBtu/hr depending on seasonal requirements. Both process and space heating loads were identified as heat sinks. The process loads predominantly involve heating make-up water used in production or for cleaning purposes. Sufficient heat is available to partially offset the space heating requirements during the winter months. In both cases, the use of recovered energy reduces the consumption of high pressure steam.

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Project Description

Two heat- recovery heat exchangers were installed in the potato chip fryer exhaust system. These heat exchangers were specially designed to operate in an environment that includes steam, vegetable oil droplets, and other organic compounds that could condense on the heat exchange surfaces. The recovered energy is transported as warm water and used to heat make-up air in the production area during the heating season. The system was instrumented and its performance monitored.


The recovered heat provided by the system was shown to reduced gas consumption by 18,580 MMBtu per year resulting in a net savings of $185,000 annually. The installed cost of the system was $1,165,900 and the simply payback is 6.3 years.

Project Results

The heat recovery system was installed. The recovered energy is currently being used to heat make-up air during the heating season. Other uses for the recovered energy are being explored.


Modern Energy Technology
5533 State Route 80
Tully, NY 13159

Principle Investigator

John DeFrees

Universities Involved


Project Type:

On-site Process Improvement

Technologies Types:

Waste Heat

NYSERDA Contact Information

Edward Kear


R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST7380-1

Last Updated: 4/27/2011