For the first time ever, European container glass manufacturers have come together to build the world’s first large-scale hybrid electric furnace to run on 80% green electricity.
The industry’s collective ‘Furnace of the Future’ pilot project is a breakthrough technology that will allow us to switch to green energy like electricity. It will be the world’s first large-scale hybrid oxy-fuel furnace to run on 80% renewable electricity.
This pioneering hybrid technology will become a major milestone towards climate-neutral glass packaging. Already today, by using more recycled glass, we can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions, by 5% for each 10% more recycled glass used. This will replace current fossil-fuel energy sources and cut CO2 emissions by 50%.
For the very first time, 20 industry companies have joined forces to create, fund and test a pilot furnace project under real-life conditions to see if it can fully meet both technical and market criteria. Ardagh Group – the world’s second-leading glass packaging manufacturer – has volunteered to build the furnace in Germany. Through this joint approach, we intend to seek the support of the European Commission’s EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) Finance for Innovation Fund Programme in 2020.
The furnace will be built by 2022, with first results in 2023.
With climate change set to be one of our planet’s greatest challenges, we all have a role to play in cutting CO2 emissions. Our industry vision is to make glass production climate neutral. We’re getting there through continuous decarbonisation of our production process, and by maximising our use of low-carbon emission energy sources.
As the glass packaging industry, we are a leader in the implementation of the Circular Economy in Europe. We’ve been collecting glass packaging for over 40 years and have achieved a collection for recycling rate of 76%. At the same time, we continue to invest in recycling, research and innovation to improve existing technologies and explore other solutions such as biomass and hydrogen. Thanks to combined technologies, we have decoupled our production from our CO2 emissions. Glass is already today 30% lighter, 70% less energy-intensive and emits 50% less CO2 than fifty years ago, while we save some 9 million tonnes of CO2 per year through endlessly recycling glass bottles and jars into new production.
At the same time, as a production industry, we are committed to enabling the transition to a resource efficient and low-carbon economy, in line with the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. This is a business and political imperative, providing the best answer to market demand as well as responding to recent recommendations on the European Industrial Strategy and the Circular Economy Action Plan. That’s why our industry is continually investing in switching to more environmentally-friendly sources of energy – from wood, to coal, to natural gas, and now to a hybrid furnace.
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