Green project has company recharged

Regenerating energy: Auburn’s Pete Agtuca of 3 Phase Energy Systems stands in front of a dust collector at his company, with the regenerator on top. Such devices can help businesses regenerate energy efficiently. - Gary Kissel/Reporter
Regenerating energy: Auburn’s Pete Agtuca of 3 Phase Energy Systems stands in front of a dust collector at his company, with the regenerator on top. Such devices can help businesses regenerate energy efficiently.
— image credit: Gary Kissel/Reporter

Pete Agtuca is full of energy, and has plenty of it to re-burn.

The Auburn businessman is a visionary, an industrial innovator who continues to produce good ideas – the latest of which falls in line with a national trend.

Globally, there is movement to harness and renew energy sources while fostering “green-collar” jobs. Locally, Agtuca and his team are doing their part while pushing that agenda. For Agtuca, the future is indeed now when it comes to regeneration.

“I started to explore ways to reduce my energy costs and ways to renew it,” said Agutca, the founder of Auburn-based 3 Phase Energy Systems, which is in the business of regenerating electrical energy for interested clientele. “The goal is promote reusable energy by providing the tools for large industries to effectively and quickly conserve and produce green jobs.

“This (pursuit) holds the potential to enhance our great nation.”

As Agtuca explains, saving power through effiecincy makes sense, considering the concerns of a global energy crisis for generations, now and well into the future.

“At 9 cents a kilowatt here, it makes a difference,” he said. In Hawaii at 24 cents it makes an even bigger difference.”

Agtuca like many industry leaders started in a garage with his share of new ideas. He has eight patents, has launched two businesses and is pushing his latest spin-off enterprise, a regenerative energy program with possibilities both great and wide.

3 Phase is developing, manufacturing and marketing innovative solutions that capture potential energy from overlooked, undiscovered, underutilized or wasteful processes in businesses and factories today.

Unit does work

As a way to do this, Agtuca and his team have come up with an exhaust regenerator (ER) – a unit that allows businesses and factories to regenerate a portion of the energy they already use. The ER can be retro-fitted to existing equipment, requiring little infrastructure investment or floor space, Agtuca explained.

The ER creates new electricity from the energy already used to run the host equipment while improving its efficiency.

Businesses that use high-air flow exhaust systems are ideal candidates for the turbo ER, Agtuca pointed out.

The cost savings add up and will be passed down from proprietors to consumers. Agtuca estimates the products consistently regenerate up to 10 percent of the energy already used by the host equipment. This regenerated energy is reused in the facility it was produced in, lowering the amount of energy that needs to be purchased.

“It will provide a predictable return on your investment,” he added.

In addition, the program will enhance the environment.

After the research and development stage, the ER is ready to test the market. A team of engineers and researchers from the University of Washington have been instrumental in pushing forward company plans.

“Energy lost we can use again,” said John Shoemaker, 3 Phase vice president who has worked closely with Agtuca on the project. “It’s like our motto: ‘The greenest watt is the watt never used. The second greenest watt is the watt used twice.”

Shoemaker and Agtuca were concerned about the soaring cost of energy. As “forward-thinking” business men, they went beyond unfulfilled wind and solar power-saving means by doing something themselves.

They operate a successful, 30,000-square-foot business, Laser Cutting Northwest, a leading precision parts manufacturer located in North Auburn. Business was good, but at the expense of high-energy costs to do fabrication. The plant uses three laser cutters, three water jets and a 30-foot router to make and ship all types of products, both industrial and commercial.

Reducing costs

To discover a way to reduce that cost, Agtuca and Shoemaker only had to turn to themselves to come up with a way. Since working with the ER program, energy costs have dropped significantly at their plant.

If successful elsewhere, each ER unit will be manufactured and assembled by local and regional manufacturers, increasing economic productivity in the region and ultimately, the nation, Agtuca said.

3 Phase is turning to government first, then to the private sector to join the campaign. Congressional leaders, even the Governor’s office, have shown considerable interest in the 3 Phase project.

The Obama administration is placing a focus on the green movement, including new energy technology. The new administration is pledging $150 billion to make it happen.

That push for change is beginning closer to home.

“Right now, it’s such a hot button,” Agtuca said of green jobs. “It just makes sense … We’re looking to help create jobs and put people back to work.”

For more about the program, please visit

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