Innovative Lancashire company helping hospitality industry tackle heat waste

10 July 2023

DEXT Heat Recovery has created a heat exchange system that harvests the wasted heat in a restaurant’s extract stream and diverts it back into the heating and hot water system to be used again.

Neil and Gareth at Nandos

Heat generated as a bi-product of cooking, lighting, and diners’ body heat is usually vented away and into the atmosphere, but Barrowford-based DEXT recognised the value in this wasted energy.

Director Neil Bracewell explains: “In a typical restaurant, like Nando’s for example, 100s of kW of energy travel through the extract duct every day.

“Without intervention, the energy wasted over a year would be the equivalent of heating 30 houses for a year.

“Our system gives restaurant owners a means of tapping into that valuable energy and recycling it. The technology is so effective that it will pay for itself within two years.”

Neil partnered with experts at Sheffield Hallam university and the UK Research Institute to perfect his idea and patent this unique technology: “Research and development has been intense over the last decade or so. We’ve been back to the drawing board countless times because we refused to compromise on quality, and now we can see that hard work really paying off.”

Nando’s was first big name to trial the system, paired with a Daikin heat pump, at its Parrs Wood site in Manchester. For much of the year at Parrs Wood, the system used this recouped energy to provide ALL the space heating and hot water requirements for the entire restaurant without the need for gas or electric heating. In the UK’s coldest winter months, it worked in conjunction with the existing heating system to improve efficiency.

Now with a DexThermic on 14 sites, Nando’s is keen to implement the technology at its other 400+ restaurants across the UK. Nando’s Head of Sustainability Sam McCarthy said: “We would love to roll it out across all our restaurants. Nando’s has set a Net Zero target by 2030, so sustainability is really important to us.”

Head of Construction Michele Matonti agrees: “As a like-minded company, eager to work ever more sustainably, Nando’s is firmly behind what DEXT is doing. Not only do they have this innovative approach to energy and reducing waste – they make sure the technology is robust and practical enough to withstand the challenges of everyday use in high traffic environments.”
Neil adds; “The system was designed in a state-of-the-art lab and tested in a purpose-built wind tunnel facility, but it was made – first and foremost – to made to meet the challenges of the real world.

“It is tough, durable and resistant to fouling and grease build up, it can be serviced and cleaned easily, and each part can be replaced individually should the need arise. In fact, the fin panels are 100% recyclable at end of life, making it a sustainable system in every way.”

DEXT’s innovative technology recently featured on North West Tonight and was the subject of a widely shared BBC news article. As a result, DEXT has experienced a significant upsurge in enquiries from major green-minded UK organisations.

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