KANSAS CITY — The South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) Governing Board in August approved a rule that moves oven emissions from bakeries in the region toward a low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) level. However, the rule was revised from a more restrictive proposal that was shared with the baking sector in January.

“It still will require controls and moves bakers toward low-NOx controls for oven emissions,” said Rasma Zvaners, vice president, regulatory and technical services, for the American Bakers Association (ABA). “However, the regulators recognized that there are different vendors in the commercial baking oven space, where in January, they were pointing to one specific oven vendor for all in the commercial baking sector.”

She added the ABA worked to educate SCAQMD regulators on the “one size does not fit all” for commercial ovens, and alternate technology can vary greatly depending on what products the bakeries are producing. The rule still focuses on electric oven technology, which has come a long way, and new systems can effectively bake certain products commercially, according to Baking & Snack’s August report on ovens.

However, bakeries may have some challenges using electric ovens to produce other items with the same quality and at the same capacity as gas-fired ovens. Moreover, the cost of converting to electric ovens or even using electricity versus natural gas can be problematic.

The ABA pointed out other challenges to regulators.

“We also provided feedback regarding the grid’s ability to support the increased electric demand and how bakeries would change from a low-voltage to high-voltage facility,” she said.

Overall, Ms. Zvaners described the revised rule as “a reasonable compromise” that the California business community also supported.