UTD Benefits > Food Service End Users

Why We Do It Addressing Recognized Needs of Food Preparation and Service End Users

Commercial food service entities operate highly energy-intense facilities, and the relatively high turn-over rate of some restaurant operations does not always support longer timelines to justify some energy-efficient upgrades. Residential homeowners also have technology development needs. But these end users often have limited choices of innovative energy-efficient technologies, and UTD is helping to address these recognized needs.

Expand Affordable, Energy-Efficient, Superior-Performing Product/Technology Options

“The foodservice industry includes a wide range of market segments, including independent restaurants, chain restaurants, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, corporate foodservice operations, healthcare, hospitality, and supermarkets. These market segments differ in many ways including their decision-making channels as well as equipment considerations.”

Commercial Kitchens Initiative, Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), March 2021, p. 8

“Restaurants are extremely energy intensive, using about 5 to 7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings, such as office buildings and retail stores. High-volume quick-service restaurants (QSRs) may even use up to 10 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.”

Energy Star™ Guide for Cafes, Restaurants and Institutional Kitchens, US Environmental Protection Agency, 2015, p. 1

Overcome Hurdles to New Product/Technology Options through Collaboration

“While regulatory policies are most critical, innovation alliances also serve an important, mutually beneficial purpose. Innovation alliances can be public, private or involve combinations of types of stakeholders.  …

Much more private investment and public-private collaboration in RD&D is required, particularly around TRL 6–8. Collaborative measures can increase success as well as cost efficiency through resource and risk sharing, as well as tapping in to complementary expertise.”

Accelerating Sustainable Energy Innovation, World Economic Forum, May 2018, p. 20

“The other major challenge entrepreneurs identify is the need to perform pilot tests in the field. This is a critical step in moving bench-scale prototypes to a reliable, commercial technology. In field tests, the entrepreneur sees how the technology is handled by field personnel, how it integrates into the existing system, and how it performs in real-world situations. The specific testing needs of clean energy technologies vary widely. … These variations in testing needs create a challenge to find the right testing facility or partner for field trials.”

Advancing the Landscape of Clean Energy Innovation, Breakthrough Energy, Feb. 2019, p. 55

“Successfully shepherding new technologies from concept to commercialization requires support at all stages, but the demonstration stage is particularly underfunded (C2ES, 2019; Nemet et al., 2018; Hart, 2018). The IEA defines technology demonstration as the “operation of a prototype … at or near commercial scale with the purpose of providing technical, economic and environmental information” (IEA 2011). The fundamental role of demonstration is to instill confidence in technology developers, users, investors, and the public that a technology will perform as intended. However, the first several large demonstrations of an emerging technology generally entail a level of technical and financial risk beyond what private industry can support, leading to a “commercialization valley of death” (Nemet et al.,2018).”

Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, The National Academies Press, 2021, p. 169

“Climate-tech start-ups usually face a deeper valley of death than IT start-ups.  To demonstrate technological and commercial viability and successfully cross the valley, climate-tech start-ups may need to simultaneously scale up research to a working technology prototype, ensure the supply chains needed for product development are in place, and establish a pathway to profit generation, including a clear demand for the product from consumers or utilities for both hardware and software. …

Collaboration with external partners provides climate-tech start-ups with resources and intangible assets that help them navigate through the valley of death and get the investment they need. Collaborations can reduce some of the perceived risks inherent to clean energy innovation, improve the prospects of climate-tech start-up survival, and facilitate clean energy technology commercialization.”

Collaboration Between Start-Ups and Federal Agencies: A Surprising Solution for Energy Innovation, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, Aug. 2020, p. 3

“The energy sector faces a series of unique challenges compared with other industries that make it especially difficult for even the most promising projects to attract private-sector investment that could help them surpass these critical stages:

  1. Capital-Intensive…
  2. Long Payback Periods…
  3. Valued as a Commodity…
  4. Regulatory Uncertainty and Fragmentation…

For the reasons listed above, the private sector generally underinvests in energy R&D. The risks associated with energy R&D are frequently too high for the private sector to make the investments needed on its own to match the scale of the opportunity of developing transformational energy technologies.”

The Power of Innovation, American Energy Innovation Council, Nov. 2018, p. 10

UTD Shaping the Energy Future