Success Story

Pizza Pizza

(From left) OCE Business Development Manager Thomas Gehring, McMaster University PhD student Rafat Hirmiz, Pizza Pizza President and CEO Paul Goddard (centre), Associate Director of the McMaster Institute of Energy Studies Dr. James Cotton, and OCE Regional Director John MacRitchie (far right) on-site at Pizza Pizza's Dundas, Ontario location.

Commercial pizza ovens are notoriously energy inefficient. A typical pizza restaurant requires a constant supply of natural gas to keep up to seven ovens operating at a baking temperature of 260°C during operating hours and 150°C overnight to be ready in order to cook in the morning. Most energy used to power the ovens is lost through the chimney.

Canada’s largest pizza chain, Pizza Pizza, has teamed up with McMaster University and heat recovery manufacturers Thermal Electronics Corporation and Acrolab to develop a low-cost system that efficiently recovers waste heat from pizza ovens and converts some of this lost energy to electricity. The energy harvested can then be used in store to meet lighting, point-of-sale terminals and hot water and heating needs. The device sets a new standard in energy conservation and offers resiliency in the event of a power outage.

OCE supported the partnership through the Collaborative Research program, which enabled McMaster to simulate, design, fabricate and test the device on a pizza oven donated by Pizza Pizza in their lab and conduct extensive energy monitoring at Pizza Pizza’s Dundas, Ontario location.

The project partners are about to move to phase two of the project, which will investigate uses for the abundance of clean, hot water produced as a by-product of the electricity generation system. The system is also being integrated into three more restaurants. Once a cost-effective, reliable product is manufactured, Pizza Pizza will be able to deploy the system in up to 400 of their restaurants across Canada.

Return on Innovation

  • Seven graduate students, twelve undergraduate students, and one postdoctoral fellow worked on project over two years
  • OCE Investment: $189,544

OCE©2014 Last updated 10/2014