Recovering energy and savings

by Charlotte Atchley
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After seeing what a heat recovery system could do in its Bardstown, KY, bakery, Flowers Foods implemented this technology in its new facility in Oxford, PA. The system from Air Management Technologies, Inc., Lewisburg, PA, recovers waste BTUs from the oven exhaust and uses them to heat the glycol that warms the bread line’s proof box, cooler and tray washer.

“It worked so well, we made the decision to use waste heat off the oxidizer to help heat these key areas on the production line rather than purchase a boiler,” said Jerry Hancock, vice-president of environmental affairs and security. This system enables the bakery to capture 750,000 to 1 million BTUs per hour, saving the natural gas and electricity it would take to heat those elements of the production line.

“We want our bakeries to operate as efficiently as possible, so we are continually looking for ways to reduce energy consumption,” he said. “This heat recovery system allows us to take heat energy that was just going out the exhaust stack and to use it to operate the bakery equipment. This permanently eliminates the need to purchase additional energy to operate this equipment.”

Flowers Foods plans to incorporate the technology on its new production lines going forward, according to Mr. Hancock.

While recovering wasted heat is Flowers Foods’ primary strategy for saving energy, it isn’t the only one. The company also installed nine large ceiling fans to circulate air in the bakery to optimize ventilation. This has brought down air changes per hour from 12 to eight, reducing energy costs by a third.

When building a more energy-efficient bakery, lighting the space also comes into play. Mr. Hancock said the bread line is lit with ceramic metal halide bulbs that are more energy efficient. Lights in storage areas and other spaces where people do not work full-time operate on motion detectors to conserve energy.

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