Bakers around the country are working on energy-saving projects backed by the Carbon Trust, with funding from the Regional Growth Fund.

Irwins Bakery is replacing steel baking tins with thermoplastic tins, which could help reduce energy consumption by up to 13% in the heating process. It is paying half of the £383,000 cost, working with Capway Systems and SABIC Innovative Plastics.

Ciaran Doherty, head of operations at Irwins Bakery, said the baking industry had traditionally used heavy metal tins, which lost heat, while thermoplastic tins had proved more energy-efficient. He said: "Our interest is cost-driven, as energy costs are spiralling, but one of our key values is to be a responsible company, so this work is important for us."

The Northern Ireland-based bakery will also work with Maxon Combustion Systems to trial a combustion control system to reduce the level of excess air used in bakery oven burners from 200% to about 100%, aiming to produce annual industry-wide energy savings of between £1.5m and £2m by 2020. The project costs £151,000, of which the Regional Growth Fund is providing £60,000.

Meanwhile, Frank Roberts has joined up with Nestlé Purina, Spooner Industries, Campden Technology, Jackson Bakeries, Rathbones Bakery and Exhausto to improve bakery oven combustion efficiency by applying a new mechanical ventilation technique to maintain optimum pressures in the exhaust flue. The technology could eventually reduce energy use from the entire bakery sector by 2-5%. The project costs £321,000, with £141,000 paid by the Regional Growth Fund.

In a joint venture, Fosters Bakery, University of Leeds and Exhausto are trialling energy reduction through novel burner control and exhaust gas heat recovery, hoping to produce annual savings of between £1.5m and £2.5m across the sector by 2020. They will partner south east-based Exodraft for the £174,000 project; the Regional Growth Fund is contributing £70,000.

>>Carbon Trust lays down energy gauntlet to bakers