European container glass industry to reduce emissions with green furnace

European container glass federation FEVE has announced an industry-wide collaborative project to build the first large-scale hybrid electric furnace that will run on 80 per cent renewable energy.

An image of green glass bottles

The ‘Furnace of the Future’ project will be delivered by engineers from 20 glass container producers, including Ardagh Group, which has volunteered to build the furnace in Germany in 2022 with first results expected in 2023.

In addition to replacing 80 per cent of fossil fuel energy with renewable electricity, which will cut emissions by 50 per cent, the project will also allow the industry to use high rates of recycled glass, reducing emissions by five per cent and energy consumption by three per cent for each additional 10 per cent of recycled glass used in the furnace.

In the case of any supply issues, the technology can switch to other sources of energy with no disruption to production.

Michel Giannuzz, President of FEVE, commented: “We are extremely proud to announce this joint-industry project.

“The hybrid technology is a step-change in the way we produce and will enable us to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of glass packaging production. The move marks an important milestone in the glass sector in implementing our decarbonisation strategy.”

Martin Petersson, CEO of Ardagh Group, Glass Europe, added: “With this new technology we are embarking on the journey to climate-neutral glass packaging, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of manufacturing.

“We aim to demonstrate the viability of electric melting on a commercial scale, which would revolutionise the consumer glass packaging market.”

Although several of the 150 glass manufacturing plants across Europe already use small-scale electric furnaces, these are exclusively used to produce colourless glass with virgin raw materials, using very little or no recycled glass content. The Furnace of the Future project will address this limitation, using high levels of recycled glass to produce more than 300 tonnes per day of any glass colour.

With the hybrid furnace set to cost up to €40 million (£36.1 million) more than a conventional furnace over its 10-year lifetime, FEVE intends to fund the project by gaining the support of the European Commission through the ETS Finance for Innovation Fund Programme.

You can find more information on the FEVE website. 

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