Study highlights prohibitive cost of switching from gas to electric ovens

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The study found that electric industrial biscuit ovens would be very expensive to operate
The study found that electric industrial biscuit ovens would be very expensive to operate

Related tags Sustainability

A new study conducted by Burton’s Foods and 42 Technology (42T) has investigated the feasibility of switching from gas-fired baking ovens to an alternative powered by electricity.

The biscuit manufacturer conducted the research in an attempt to reduce the carbon emissions associated with its industrial baking process.

However, the results of the study concluded that although electric ovens capable of functioning in an industrial setting are available on the market, the dramatic difference in price between gas and electricity means that switching over to an electric option would make the production process markedly more expensive. This is despite 42T’s recommended energy saving and operational cost reduction measures being factored into the analysis.

Based near Cambridge, 42T is a product design and innovation consultancy that was commissioned to support Burton’s Foods with the project. The study was funded through the Government’s Phase 1 Industrial Fuel Switching Competition, a scheme that was designed to support the UK’s transition towards more sustainable fuels.

The departments for ‘Energy Security and Net Zero’ and ‘Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’ have published the full results with the hope of supporting other business engaged in oven-based operations to reduce their emissions. The study considered the technical and commercial implications of switching to electric ovens, with a specific focus on product quality and cost management.

According to the Food and Drink Federation, direct-fired ovens operated within the UK food and drink sector result in an estimated 700,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

Burton’s Foods parent company, Fox’s Burton’s Companies (FBC), has calculated that it could slash CO2 emissions by around 17,000 tonnes per year, if it is able to decarbonise production lines. Following the conclusion of the study, FBC hopes to secure Industrial Fuel Switching Competition Phase 2 funding from the Government to support the development of a commercially viable electric oven that could be operational on an industrial site by 2025.

In other news, a significant stake in ingredients firm Meadow has been sold to Canadian investor Fairfax Financial​.

Related topics Bakery Environment

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