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4 April, 2014 - 10:05 By News Desk

Shell Springboard cash for PDX cooking technology


Olympus Automation in Peterborough UK has been awarded a £30,000 prize in a Shell Springboard competition to boost commercialisation of a revolutionary cooking technology acquired in the takeover of Cambridge-based PDX.

The expert panel of judges recognised the potential for the steam infusion method of cooking to significantly reduce carbon emissions due to a more efficient industrial heating and mixing process.

The Shell Springboard programme represents a nationwide search for the next breakthrough in low carbon enterprise – part of a strategy of collaborating externally to fast track solutions to the energy challenge. Since 2005, Shell has awarded £2.58 million to 71 companies exploring new ways to cut carbon emissions.

The steam infusion technology allows food product to be cooked, mixed and pumped within a single unit, often removing the need for multiple stages of processing. Carbon reductions are generated from the significant reduction in system footprint and 99.7 per cent energy transfer in the steam infusion chamber.

To date steam infusion is being used at more than 30 sites globally, producing sauces, soups and meat products to great effect.

Mark Carnaghan, factory manager at client Greencore said: “Steam infusion has allowed us to nearly double our previous throughput rates; furthermore our meat sauce quality and consistency has improved dramatically.” 

Steam infusion is believed to be the fastest growing food processing solution in the UK with annual sales up 10-fold to £6 million.

It has been dubbed low risk by anaalysts because of the ease with which manufacturers can easily match existing products. The PDX™ steam infusion unit can be run in steam injector mode cutting production times but with no change to final product.

Jan Kusters, manufacturing director at Larco Foods – another customer – said: “Since purchasing the PDX™ system we have reduced the production time of our soups and sauces by more than 50 per cent as well as reducing energy whilst still maintaining our exceptional product quality.”

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