Carbon Trust challenges confectionery industry on energy efficiency

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The Carbon Trust and the Food & Drink Federation (FDF) have teamed up to challenge the confectionery industry to develop energy efficient processes.

Co-funding of up to £500,000 per project is being offered to confectionery producers, equipment suppliers and technology providers and the Carbon Trust and FDF are inviting consortia to submit proposals to deploy less energy hungry and lower carbon technologies for drying and curing sweets (stoving).

The move comes as part of the Carbon Trust’s Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA): a £15m programme that aims to generate a step change in reducing energy use and carbon emissions in British industry.

An initial phase to monitor energy use in stoving has already taken place in collaboration with Cadbury, Nestlé and Tangerine Confectionery with the focus on the gums and jellies segment of sugared confectionery.

As a result, the Carbon Trust has concluded the demonstration and deployment of new stoving technologies could significantly reduce the sector’s energy use and operating costs.

“Carbon emissions from the stoving process in the gums and jellies segment could be reduced by more than 40% by using new heating methods such as microwaves. The process used for stoving today has changed little in 40 years but new methods must be thoroughly tested to ensure quality of production is not affected,’ said Al-Karim Govindji, technology acceleration manager at the Carbon Trust.

“Through the IEEA we aim to catalyse change by demonstrating new, lower-carbon technical solutions for stoving that can then be replicated widely across the confectionery sector.”

Confectionery companies, suppliers of technology and equipment, and academic institutions are being invited to form consortia to research and demonstrate new energy efficient technologies in stoving.

The Carbon Trust will provide up to £250,000, and in exceptional circumstances up to £500,000, per project to fund a maximum of 60% of project costs, depending on State Aid rules for the project type and size of company, the level of readiness of the technology, as well as value for money considerations.

“Novel forms of stoving could include using microwave technology instead of conventional heating,” said Govindji.

Andrew Kuyk, director of sustainability at FDF, said: “The IEEA is an important programme of support for our members in their aim to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions under FDF’s Five-fold Environmental Ambition. We are delighted FDF members Cadbury and Nestlé were involved from the start and we now look forward to wider industry engagement with stage two of the programme.”

David Prosser, operations director at Tangerine Confectionery, said: “We at Tangerine fully support the work being carried out by the Carbon Trust to help reduce energy within the confectionery industry and are keen to take an active part. Tangerine Confectionery is the UK’s largest manufacturer of own label sugar confectionery and as such a large user of energy in the form of heat used for stoving gums and jelly sweets.

“The possibility of using microwave technology to generate heat for our stoving cycles to help reduce product turn round times as well as reducing cost is an exciting prospect, which would if successful provide huge benefits for our particular industry. We look forward to being part of this exciting venture and hope that from our original trials using microwave ovens that this can be scaled up and a microwave process can installed at one of our production sites.”

The call for proposals is open from 21 October to 16 December 2010. The Carbon Trust is encouraging interested parties to attend a seminar at which the programme and application process will be explained in detail. Insights will be shared from the research phase undertaken in collaboration with FDF, Cadbury, Nestlé and Tangerine Confectionery. The seminar will take place in Birmingham on 21 October. Further information can be found at www.carbontrust.co.uk/ieea or by emailing ieea@carbontrust.co.uk.