SPECIAL EDITION: ENERGY-SAVING BAKING

Baking NASA-style: Are reflective coatings the future for oven efficiency?

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

“The fact it was developed for NASA is interesting and exciting, but it has to work," says Jason Ward, vice president of sales and marketing for AMF Bakery
“The fact it was developed for NASA is interesting and exciting, but it has to work," says Jason Ward, vice president of sales and marketing for AMF Bakery

Related tags: Baking

Nano emissive coatings designed to protect the NASA shuttle are being used in industrial baking ovens to slash energy use, and patent-owner AMF Bakery Systems says the results are impressive.

AMF Baking Systems owns exclusive patents to apply the technology, originally designed for NASA, to baking. Its ‘Emisshield’ technology works to absorb, emit and then re-radiate heat and can reduce energy use in bakery ovens by up to 20%, in turn shrinking a baker’s carbon footprint, it said.

“The fact it was developed for NASA is interesting and exciting, but it has to work,”​ said Jason Ward, vice president of sales and marketing for AMF Bakery Systems.

“What’s particularly interesting is that we’ve been able to prove and demonstrate the efficiency for bakers. The bottom line is, it’s a proven technology in a range of industries and fields which gives us confidence,”​ he told BakeryandSnacks.com. 

New approach after extensive R&D

AMF has been working on applying the technology to the baking sector for years, Ward said.

Emisshield technology increases re-radiation in ovens
Emisshield technology increases re-radiation in ovens

The firm’s first approach was to use the technology to coat the walls and ceiling of bakery ovens, he said, but now it has established a more effective way of using the coatings.

“Now we are using coated emitters that are installed directly over the burners. It allows for greater re-radiation and use of heat from the burner,”​ he said.

Using coated emitters also saves time, he said, because they can arrive pre-coated at the bakery and can be installed in 24 hours.

Ken Newsome, CEO of parent company Markel Bakery Group said that while there are various technologies for oven efficiency the coating technology addresses the biggest challenge bakers face – how to retrofit existing ovens.

Much more than energy savings…

Ward said that one surprising and exciting finding was that the technology improves baking and product quality.

“In addition to reducing energy, we’re seeing an evenness of bake and improvement of color. We saw all this when we worked on pilot ovens, we just didn’t know that would translate on an industrial scale, which it has.”

Bakers are always firstly concerned about how a new technology may impact their product; they see it as a risk, he said. “But this technology is an opportunity to improve product quality,” ​he said.

“We’re very pleased with the results that we’ve seen delivered in industrial ovens and we continue to see opportunities for growth,”​ he said. 

For more on this special edition:

Energy efficiency: Cost first, carbon second

Retail wants green baking - and it wants it now, says BEMA

Innovative energy efficiency: Bakers aren’t fully on board yet…

Air Management Technologies: ‘Our goal is to have a zero-energy bakery’

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