Frito-Lay goes off the grid thanks to new technology

The Frito-Lay manufacturing facility in Killingly, Conn., has officially unplugged itself from the Northeast power grid, thanks to the installation of a state-of-the-art combined heat and power (CHP) co-generation system. This new system allows the plant to generate its own electric power, providing almost 100 percent of the plant’s electricity requirements. To make the most out of the new system, the facility will also convert the waste heat generated on site into steam, helping Frito-Lay manufacture its snack products onsite. The implementation of this new system not only provides relief to the Northeast by reducing the significant load on the heavily congested regional power grid, but also helps the site lessen its environmental footprint by reducing its carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions, which contribute to greenhouse gases.

The proven benefits resulting from the launch of the new CHP co-generation system at the Frito-Lay facility are an important step toward investing in sustainable business practices and transforming the way in which U.S. industry uses energy. This new system has the potential to help U.S. industry achieve a sustainable future by enabling other plants to become more energy-efficient and minimize their environmental impact.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy co-funded the in-field demonstration programs of the CHP applications through the Industrial Technologies Program. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the CHP project took place on August 12, 2009, while the 12-month data-evaluation period began on May 1, 2009. Full operation of the CHP system was achieved during the week of March 23, 2009.

This article was written for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program and appeared in the DOE’s Energy Matters newsletter. For more information, visit