When it comes to lowering energy bills, many bakeries now install heat exchangers in the oven exhaust stack to capture thermal energy from the hot air or divert steam to operate proofers or be turned into hot water to reduce the cost of pan washing. Unfortunately, that’s not the perfect solution for cookie and cracker manufacturers.

“We in the biscuit industry don’t use proof boxes, so we don’t have the need for that steam. That’s the key difference,” observed Albert (Al) Koch, director of biscuit engineering, global supply chain, Kraft Foods, Northfield, IL.

That’s why Mr. Koch, who is based in East Hanover, NJ, is taking an alternative approach to conserving energy in ovens. “I try not to put [the hot air] up the exhaust stack in the first place, but recycle it,” he suggested.

As to exactly how he’s doing it, Mr. Koch’s lips are sealed.