Even though the United States has been leading the way in pollution control and emissions have continued to drop since the passage of the Clean Air Act, various industries such as the manufacturing of food products still results in the release of volatile organic compounds, odors, and other pollutants.

In many industries, and even in certain food manufacturing processes, facilities have numerous options to reduce their emissions that could include anything from a change in materials to a change in product.

On the other hand, pollution control at a baking operation is different than many other manufacturing processes:

  • Nearly Impossible to Make Raw Material or Product Modifications: The baking process uses a limited set of ingredients that haven’t changed since the dawn of time. While stabilizers, enzymes, and preservatives make the baking process easier, there isn’t a replacement for yeast.
  • The Entire Baking Process is Unchangeable: With yeast metabolism a necessary component of a baking operation, ethanol is an unavoidable byproduct.
  • Lower-Temperature Operations: Baking operations use lower temperatures, with ovens rarely needing to operate above 500 degrees.
  • Location, Location, Location: With short product shelf life, bakeries often operate near their consumers, often putting these facilities in nonattainment areas or other areas with more stringent state or local standards.

Ultimately, this results in an environment in which commercial baking operations need to control their VOC emissions more effectively than in other industries, and have one option to do it: Destruction by means of an oxidizer. Of course, this isn’t without its own challenges, some of which we will discuss below.

Balancing Pollution Control with Product Quality

Every step of the baking process has a very low margin of error. Water has to be the perfect temperature for the yeast to pitch, mixing ingredients is its own science, and dough can only take so much physical stress before you start to see a decline in the product quality.

Add to this the proofing and baking process and the entire process needs to be perfect—too much or too little humidity in the proofer, an oven that’s a few degrees off, or airflow or pressure issues throughout the process could all could result in a product that fails to meet quality standards or consumer tastes.

When looking for a pollution control system, product quality dictates two variables: Location of your oxidizer and the oxidation process.


When looking at a new oxidizer, it’s likely that you are making the decision to replace an existing pollution control system, dictating a specific location for said oxidizer. However, if you are making a change to the product flow, expanding your operations, or redesigning your facility to incorporate a new product line, this location may not be ideal, as ventilation and other systems will need to be redesigned to facilitate airflow and prevent ill effects on the product.

Type of Oxidizer

As baking operations vary from one facility to the next so does the right solution to control emissions. Whether the right technology is a catalytic oxidizer or a regenerative thermal oxidizer, The CMM Group will evaluate your specific operation to find the best solution to meet compliance while not effecting the end product.

Learn more about catalytic oxidizers and regenerative thermal oxidizers.


As baking operations produce large amounts of ethanol with each bake, airflow within a facility needs to be accounted for and ventilation needs to be designed to draw air from the ovens and deliver it to pollution control systems. With safety a top priority in any manufacturing, openings for air intake and exhaust need to be strategically designed to control pressure, atmosphere, and uniformity, as well as minimize any risk that could come from ethanol buildup during the bake.

At The CMM Group, we specialize in the design and implementation of ovens and oxidizers for baking operations, and also offer site engineering services to help reduce risk, improve airflow, and increase efficiency whether you are redesigning a facility or updating your pollution control.

Minimizing Wasted Energy

For baking operations, you operate with tight margins and create products with short shelf life. Therefore, any opportunity to find cost savings and optimize production could keep your facility operating and business thriving.

Energy recovery solutions answer this need, taking the heat generated from your pollution control system and redirecting it to provide heat for other operations including facility heating, supplemental heat for boilers, oven preheating, and more.

For example, with the help of The CMM Group, this Midwest baking operation was able to reuse heat from its catalytic oxidizer using an air-to-glycol coil energy recovery system that supplied heat energy for three tray washers and two air make-up units.

Get to Know The CMM Group

At The CMM Group, we specialize in the design, construction, and installation of heat processing solutions for organizations in baking and food manufacturing. We have the experience, expertise, and ability to innovate that you expect, and have helped organizations just like yours to reduce emissions while saving money on operating coast. We welcome you to download our VOC abatement guide, learn more about our services, and contact us for more information.

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