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The glass industry is committed to climate-neutral packaging. To achieve this, hybrid furnaces have been researched and evaluated via a FEVE led collaborative sectoral approach as a potential new technology to complement individual carbon reduction initiatives. Hybrid furnaces seek to replace a large share of the currently used natural gas by electricity. To help secure the future of the European glass industry in a circular and climate-neutral European economy, it is crucial to explore all possible paths to decarbonisation, such as biomass, hydrogen and electrification. While this is essentially an energy transition, the industry faces numerous challenges.
Transitioning to climate-neutral production requires huge capital and operational expenditures; public sector support and funding is therefore important to helping industries to deploy the new, break-through technologies to be on track to meet the decarbonisation targets for 2050 set by the EU Climate Law.
The industry is disappointed that the original Hybrid Furnace concept, supported by 19 glass companies, was not successful in being awarded a grant by the EU Innovation Fund, despite the project achieving very high evaluation scores in terms of innovation, sectoral approach and scalability. Although the 19 companies volunteered to contribute financially to the project, the EU grant was still representing a significant contribution to the additional CAPEX and OPEX compared to a conventional furnace. Without the EU grant, the project cannot be pursued as initially planned. However, the industry remains committed to climate neutral production and is now proceeding with their decarbonisation efforts.
In recent years, many initiatives have been put in place to reach the goals set by the glass industry. There was the launch of the Eco2Bottle – the climate-neutral glass bottle. There has also been advancement in building hybrid furnaces that would be using 50% renewable energy. Other companies have been assessing hydrogen, bioresources and process electrification, while also exploring possibilities to adapt existing melting furnaces to new energy sources.
Information and case studies on the wide range of decarbonisation initiatives being implemented across the sector are shared on the Glass Hallmark website.
As FEVE, we would like to thank the 19 founding members of the original Hybrid Furnace for the Future project and commend them all for their vision and commitment in addressing the industry’s decarbonisation challenge.
Hybrid technology has the potential to cut the direct furnace CO2 emissions by 60%, and those of the whole installation by 50%, by replacing 80% of the natural gas with renewable electricity. The potential CO2 reduction of this innovation is even higher if it can be subsequently combined with other innovative sources of energy such as hydrogen or biogas.Read our visions on climate neutrality
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Glass is made from natural ingredients – making it best for preserving taste and quality. As a tasteless and odourless material with no chemical interaction, glass prevents the transfer.