#024 Revolutionising Energy Recovery

Enjay is the first company in the world to use the hot exhaust air produced by a kitchen to then minimise operation costs of restaurants. They have developed a product called Lepido which will be shaking up the restaurant industry by enabling profitable energy recovery from kitchen ventilation systems.  

Watch their Circular Story here!

Jesper Wiren the co-founder and CEO of Enjay is not just an entrepreneur but also a visionary.

In the late 90’s Jesper developed an UV system for commercial kitchens and has been non-stop ever since.  The Lepido product means recovered energy can be recycled for heating, air conditioning and can supply energy in other ways that a restaurant may need. Usually this energy potential would have no value and would just be wasted, so Lepido brings a huge opportunity for the restaurant industry. 

The restaurant industry is stubborn and old fashioned but Wiren is not afraid to be the guy to bring about the change. His passion, charisma and his drive means he is ready to move mountains together with his team who he keeps inspired. He wants to invite people to join him to reach his goal and to orchestrate his vision.

“Stop wasting energy and save money where it hasn’t been possible before.”

Coming up in this Circular Story

  • How much energy we waste without knowing it

  • What is in the Paris Agreement

  • How they work together with Burger King

  • How you run a business and be purpose driven without losing profit out of sight

THE FIRST TEST WAS WITH BURGER KING

“Our first live test restaurant was a Burger King in Malmö Sweden. Burger King is known to be a hopeless case with a lot of grease and soot in the airstream that destroys all technical equipment within 6 weeks. When we had survived for 3 months we decided to go for it and we danced on the rooftop of BK. Today 3,5 years later we still recover the same amount of energy as we did the first day.”

With a ROI of 2 years we have created a financial incentive to help save the climate.

“We have developed and patented the first and right now the only energy recovery unit for restaurants in the world. The system doesn’t need pre-filtration and/or running maintenance. Via a heat-pump we deliver the energy back into the entire building either as heating and/or as cooling. A typical restaurant is saving 10´s of thousands of Euro every year and in average 33 tonnes of fossil CO2. The global potential is that we can save 500 megatons fossil CO2 every year (1% of the global emissions by 2050).” 

The system is usually specified by technical HVAC consultants and sold to HVAC installers. But we also sell directly to end customers such as fast food chains and hotels.

We have a strong passion and will to be part of the environmental movement. We believe that a hundred companies around the world could actually save the climate and we are one slice of the elephant. We also believe that there needs to be an economical benefit for the customer to do this. With a ROI of 2 years we have created a financial incentive to help save the climate.

I would feel extremely proud if we could contribute to handing over a better planet to our children. I would also feel proud if we can inspire new start-ups with innovative climate solutions.”

Energy Waste, Climate Change and The Paris Agreement

With roughly 15 million restaurants worldwide there is 0% energy recovery from their kitchens. This amount equals 500 megatonnes of Co2 emissions and which translates as 1% of Co2 emissions worldwide. 

In order to tackle climate change, industries need to start looking at where energy is wasted and not just purchasing renewable energy. 

The problem (before):

Forcing property owners to ventilate heated or cooled air out of the building. Without recovering the energy.

The solution (after):

Recovers the energy and puts it back into the building.

Collaboration within the ecosystem

“We meet many companies that are doing great innovations to help save the climate. One example is the Swedish Climeon who makes electricity from waste heat – in maritime environments. They exploit the temperature difference between hot and cold water to generate clean electricity. We complement each other very well.  Because when the vessels no longer have any waste heat and can’t warm the ship, it can instead use the energy from their onboard restaurants, using Lepido.
We also partner up with investors who believe in saving the climate and of course that is crucial for us until we can carry our own costs. Thirdly we partner up with professionals in order to get a fully automated production.”

Circular Quote
of the day:

“I would feel extremely proud if we could contribute to handing over a better planet to our children. “

Jesper Wiren
Founder ENJAY

Purpose and Joy 

“For me and Enjay the circular economy means when the energy being produced to heat or cool a building is being recycled and being put back into the building. But also that the products we produce can be recycled when they are being dismantled.

We work with Purpose and Joy. When you have that profit will come. We believe in “not taking yourself too seriously” and “acting like a friend to everyone” together with a proper structure and policies the recipe for success. It will decrease stress levels with the people and they will do a better job. If you can avoid stress you will make better decisions.”

And it is becoming more interesting to be circular for companies…

“There is a megatrend in energy efficiency – one example is the Paris agreement. Countries and companies actually do really well in following this and have a drive to do something for the climate. When there is also money to be saved the combination is good.”

Challenges in the Industry to become Circular

“I would say that one is that you need help from a third party to fund a product. In our case the need from the customer exists, the product is in place and we have the infrastructure to get it out on the market. We even have the legislation but there is an inertia due to the investment at the end customer. This needs to be solved via a financial plan for the customer and in that case we need a third party to fund it.

We also have a challenge that many people “know” that it’s not possible to recover the energy from restaurants. Many companies have tried and failed. We have made it but need to prove it often. That is of course ok but takes time.”

Our gap towards Circularity:

“Our Circularity  gap is in production. The majority of the product can be recycled but there are still some materials that is not recyclable and we need to solve that. “

If you could have a gigantic billboard with anything on it what would it say and why?

Believe in yourself! 

Whether you think you can do it or not, you are right!

What would it look like when it (a sustainable/circular/inclusive economy) was easy? 

“The world would be a better place. I think the money has to be the issue – or rather the driver. I think the “new generation” of Greentech companies needs to find an economical incentive for the customers in order to get a circular economy. Too often it’s based on guilt and/or costs. Sustainable life will come automatically if there is a financial incentive.”

Therefore my general advice amongst start-ups would be that they don’t focus too much on getting funding instead of building a proper business case and letting the product fund you.”

Your expert tip for other entrepreneurs is:…. 

“Don’t take yourself too seriously – it will close many doors to knowledge if you do. And surround yourself with great people who have expertise in areas that you don’t. And don’t be afraid of talking to the potential customers – a product and/or service needs to be market-driven and not technology-driven. And it is extremely important to attract the right people. I surround myself with people who are much more brilliant than I am.”

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Circular Quote of the Day

Do something that makes your kids proud.

Dr. Sebastian Porkert, Founder ECOFARIO

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