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The Carbon Trust has announced the creation of a new commercial subsidiary to develop low-carbon technology ventures, particularly in the food and drink sectors.

The government-backed organisation claimed the new division, called Carbon Trust Enterprises (CTE), will help its twin aims of reducing pollution and showing that low-emissions innovations can be good for business.

The first new business developed by CTE will be Connective Energy (CE), a three-way venture with Mitsui Babcock Energy and Triodos Renewables, a finance group specialising in environmental technologies.

According to The Carbon Trust, 45 per cent of the UK's industrial primary energy consumption is currently wasted as heat released into the environment. It estimates that 40TWh of this wasted heat could be re-used - the equivalent of the heating needs of Greater Manchester, representing a core market potential up to £1bn a year in the UK and an annual carbon saving potential of 7.5 million CO2 tonnes.

CE will capture this wasted heat at source and transfer it in the form of steam or hot water to other industrial or public sector consumers in the same area, providing a stable, low-cost heat supply.

Mitsui Babcock will provide technical expertise for advanced steam generating technology such as high-temperature natural circulation boilers, which utilise the naturally occurring difference between the density of water and steam to provide the motive force to ensure fluid circulation within the furnace tubes.

One of CE's prospective first customers is Wienerberger, a brick manufacturer with factories throughout the UK. CE would supply waste heat from a nearby small power station to the dryer chambers at Wienerberger's factory at Horsham, West Sussex.

Stephane Vissiere, Wienerberger's energy manager suggested the project could lead to carbon savings of nearly 7,000 tonnes of CO2 annually while generating revenue through energy savings for the company.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust said: 'If we can capture heat that is currently wasted, we can recover energy amounting to almost five per cent of the total energy consumption of the UK industrial, commercial and public sectors. This is good for our customers, good for investment and good for the environment.'

Carbon Trust Enterprises also has a venture in development that will enable businesses - especially those within the food and drink industry - to reduce waste, energy costs and carbon by converting production waste into electricity and heat.

This will be achieved through various technologies such as biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion coupled with combined heat and power (CHP) units.