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Carla’s Pasta VP: ‘In Connecticut, The Government Works’

by Christine Stuart | Oct 11, 2012 12:40pm
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Posted to: Business, Energy, Environment, Town News, South Windsor, Jobs

Christine Stuart photo

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Sergio Squatrito, vice president of operations for Carla’s Pasta. This is the pre-hairnet photo before the tour.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said Carla’s Pasta in South Windsor is the “perfect example” of what they are trying to encourage with their new energy strategy.

The goal of the new strategy unveiled last week in Cromwell is to reign in energy costs through efficiency measures, increased natural gas connections, and new financing tools.

The enormous freezers Malloy toured at Carla’s Pasta in South Windsor would add about 600 kilowatt hours to the company’s base load of energy consumption. But about a year ago they added a fuel cell.

“We trimmed the whole mountain,” Sergio Squatrito, vice president of operations, said Wednesday.

The fuel cell is producing about 213 megawatt hours per month of electricity and 250,000 pounds of steam. In addition, 40,000 pounds of C02 emissions are reduced every month and it’s capturing the waste heat from the pasta making process.

“We’re capturing about a quarter of a million pounds of steam per month, which is the equivalent of a 30 to 40 horsepower boiler,” Squatrito said.

The fuel cell was purchased in December 2011 with the help of a bridge loan from the Connecticut Development Authority, a grant from the then-Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, and a federal grant through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Squatrito declined to say exactly how much the fuel cell cost the company, but he said they would be receiving a return on their investment at the end of two years.

Carla’s Pasta employs about 147 employees, but with the construction of a 26,000-square-foot addition, they plan to increase their staff to 200 by the end of the year. Currently, the company makes about 2 million pounds of pasta per month, but the expansion will increase that number by a third.

“In Connecticut, the government works,” Squatrito said. “Too many times businesses don’t step up and say ‘without the government this would not be happening.’”

Malloy, who toured the facility with a hairnet and no photographers in tow, said Squatrito and his company have employed a winning strategy.

“This kind of formula: working on energy, working on the environment, working on job production and growth is what Connecticut needs to do,” Malloy said.

Squatrito said Carla, who founded the business in 1978 was unable to be there Wednesday because she was in Italy, but that she was the one who challenged them to lower their energy consumption about three years ago.

“We needed all the help we could get from the Connecticut Energy Fund, the governor’s office, the CDA — without them it would not have been possible,” Squatrito said. “We invested and now we’re ready for the turnaround in America.”

Esty praised Carla’s vision and energy challenge.

“There is nothing old-world with regard to what Carla’s is doing with regard to energy,” Esty said. “Carla’s Pasta is a real-world example of 21st century sustainability in action.”

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