The sustainable manufacturing initiative will see Nestlé UK and Ireland, in partnership with the Yorkshire university, lead a series of Innovate UK projects. These will improve resource efficiency and are set to deliver impressive cost savings across the food supply chain that will benefit the whole industry.
Working with Sheffield Hallam's Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering and Spirax Sarco, Nestlé UK will play a lead role in developing a pioneering project to improve waste heat recovery processes.
The project will focus on the carbon footprint of the 40-metre long ovens used by Nestlé UK to manufacture KitKats and will explore ways to improve the existing process. Baking technologies in food and drink manufacturing processes typically use gas-fired heaters, which produce large volumes of waste heat at 300 to 400 degrees Celsius. Researchers will work with Nestlé UK to develop an innovative heat recovery solution to drive energy efficiency and cut the cost of energy.
In a second project, engineers will work with Nestlé UK, Sheffield Hallam, First Milk and Foss to reduce raw milk supply chain wastage by three per cent across the UK supply chain.
The team will develop an inline spectroscopic technology to improve process control and help to align the entire supply chain with the needs of the process. The technology will deliver an estimate energy saving of 190,000 GJ per year across the Nestlé UK and Ireland group, and reduce process waste at its Dalston plant.
Dr Martin Howarth, Director of the National Centre for Excellence in Food Engineering, Sheffield Hallam University, said: "We are delighted to receive these commissions from Nestlé which have the potential to achieve savings, lower the carbon footprint and allow our students to tackle real scenarios."
Ryan McNeill, Resource Efficiency Lead, Nestlé UK and Ireland said: "In meeting the greatest challenges facing our business today and in the future, the need to collaborate is clear. Through our projects with Innovate UK we are driving innovation, gaining new insight into our operations and adding value to our business partners, academia and society."
Nestlé - Kit Kat