The Carbon Trust has challenged Britain’s plant bakers to come up with ways of improving energy efficiency, backed by co-funding of up to £500,000 per project.

Allied Bakeries, Irwin’s and Jackson’s have already carried out initial studies with the government-funded organisation focusing on how to improve the combustion efficiency of ovens, introducing heat recovery processes, and reducing the thermal mass of baking tins. Reductions of around 8.5% in the sector’s carbon emissions could be achieved by addressing these areas alone, said the Carbon Trust.

Bakery companies and equipment suppliers are now being invited to form consortia to develop new energy-efficient technologies, which could be replicated across the sector as part of the Carbon Trust’s Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) a £15m programme that aims to reduce energy use and carbon emissions in British industry. A similar project is being set up with flour millers. The Carbon Trust will provide up to £500,000 per project to fund a maximum of 60% of project costs.

"In bakeries, the prover, oven and cooler account for the majority of energy consumption and CO2 emissions, so that is where we looked for savings," said Al-Karim Govindji, technology acceleration manager at the Carbon Trust. "We found that heat loss from ovens can be cut significantly if excess air levels are reduced with automated control systems."

Allied, Premier and Warburtons account for over 50% of carbon emissions in the baking sector, said the Trust. The entire sector emits approximately 570,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, whch could be reduced by over 25% through good practice and process innovation.

Nick Law, operations director at Allied, said: "Energy consumption plays a significant con-tribution in the carbon footprint of our business. We now have a greater understanding of our energy usage, which is key to driving improvement to reduce the environmental impact of our business."

Further information on the project can be found at