A good idea?

Inventor gets patents but seeks developer

After years of trying to get his invention to market, Daniel Repette III, a retired Weehawken fire captain, has learned a lot of things – not just how to make his product more efficient, but also how tough it is to find a market.
Several years ago, Repette, a Hoboken native who moved to Bayonne in 1972, came up with a unique design for cookware that he believes will also save energy.
“Since then, I learned that it can be adapted to water heaters and other uses,” he said.
With two patents already acquired for his device, he is still seeking to find a way to bring it to market, and has already been burned by so-called marketing companies that seem more interested in collecting fees than promoting his product.

Learned about heat

As a firefighter, Repette learned a lot about heat, although his idea came to him during a backyard barbeque when he noticed how much heat was retained when the lid of a grill was kept down.
“I thought it was too bad that we didn’t have something like that for the stovetop,” he said. “Then I thought maybe you could put a cone on top of the pot to keep the heat in.”

“The device recovers heat and recycles it.” — Daniel Repette III
He imagined a kind of metal skirt with the bottom open to be fit around the belly of the pot, capturing all the heat that is lost along the sides of a pot while being heated on the stove.
“Three times more of the pot is heated than without it,” he said.
This invention, he believes, could be used on nearly any kind of pot, and if used widely, could result in significant savings in energy.
The skirt is portable, so it can be used almost anywhere. Repette said the skirt could be made in various sizes to accommodate large venues, such as cruise ships or even military mess halls, or smaller versions for use in ordinary homes.
“The device recovers heat and recycles it,” he said.

Based on the laws of physics

Although he worked as a firefighter in Weehawken and eventually the North Hudson Regional Fire Department, Repette’s father was a plumber, giving him some of the mechanical skills he needed to construct a working model of his invention.
Since then, he has made modifications inside the skirt to improve its efficiency, and has also expanded its potential uses to water heaters and other devices in which heat needs to be retained.
He said the energy conserved varies with each use. In cooking, it can conserve three times the heat of normal cookware, while with larger items such as the water heater, the energy savings might be as high as six times.
He said the idea is based on the basic laws of physics.
Although he believes in his device, this has not been an inexpensive venture, costing him as much as $50,000 over the last four years to develop and patent it.
“Every step costs money,” he said.
He said he has other ideas that he would like to develop – including devices for fire suppression – but he wants to get this first idea to market before he delves into them.


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