KTN-iX challenge: Energy efficient air compressors for food manufacturing

The iX competition, delivered by the Knowledge Transfer Network, is supporting Lewis Pies to identify solutions to innovation challenges. This current challenge relates to the need to reduce the energy demand and cost associated with producing pies and pasties at their Swansea site, particularly relating to the air compressors used to drive the manufacturing equipment.

Opportunity Details


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Commercial opportunity, with possible further pitch and promotion opportunities to follow.

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Lewis Pies Ltd is a family-owned and run company manufacturing pastries, bread and cakes since 1936. They are passionate about driving the business forward, developing customer relationships, innovating, and working hard to provide quality products.

Their trade customers are looking for products that have been made in a sustainable way and so Lewis Pies are actively seeking ways to reduce the energy demand and carbon emissions relating to the manufacturing process.

Lewis Pies has a manufacturing site in Swansea where they make their food products, these include in the majority of pastry products (pies and pasties of varying sizes and shapes). The site is approximately 4000sq m with one large building which houses the manufacturing process, consisting largely of electrical and air driven process equipment for cooking, cooling and powering the process and gas-fired boilers for hot water and steam required for the process.

The site currently relies on fossil fuels to meet the power, heating, cooling and hot water demands of their operations. Power and gas are supplied to the site via the grid.
Annual statistics: Natural gas – 1639.183MWh; Electricity – 2776.323MWh.

The Challenge

Lewis Pies is looking for solutions that reduce the energy demand associated with powering the compressors used to drive some of the food manufacturing processes, increasing pressure for more efficient cooking and freezing.

Lewis Pies is open to any solution whether it is adapting the existing compressors to allow them to operate more efficiently and so require less power or to completely replace the compressors with an alternative technology option. Lewis Pies would look more favourably on solutions that are net zero carbon and have achieved a TRL of 8 (demonstrated at scale in an operational environment), however, they are open to R&D projects.

The solution should fit within the current footprint of the main building and surrounding site. There is plenty of room within the main building around the process equipment.

Market Opportunity

Lewis Pies is looking for a solution to purchase. If successfully funded through the IETF the project would be publicised to other food manufacturers as a case study of the potential energy savings.

Eligibility & Scoring Criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the challenge
  • Innovative nature of the solution
  • Maturity of solution
  • Ease of installation and maintenance
  • Price/quality ratio

If you have any questions about the content of this challenge or are looking for a collaboration partner, we would be happy to help. Do not hesitate to contact Jenni McDonnell at KTN for a detailed discussion.


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