RSS Feeds

Advanced search

You are in:


European glass manufacturers to design world-first hybrid furnace

A group of European glass manufacturers is hoping to enact major change in the industry by piloting a new type of furnace which runs on renewable energy.

The Furnace of the Future project has seen 20 container glass producers club together to design and build the world's first hybrid oxy-fuel furnace, which will get 80 per cent of its energy from renewably generated electricity.

The first furnace is set to be built by Ardagh Group, the world's second largest glass manufacturer, in Germany. It is expected to be completed in 2022, with an assessment of the initial results due the following year.

The collaborative project marks a major milestone in the glass packaging industry's decarbonisation journey.

Around 150 glass manufacturing plants already use electric furnaces, but these are currently limited to small-scale producers working with flint (colourless) glass, without the use of recycled glass.

Using electricity rather than gas for 80 per cent of the furnace's energy needs will reduce the overall CO2 emissions of a container glass factory by 50-60 per cent.

The new technology will also enable producers to use high levels of recycled glass - which could reduce CO2 emissions by a further 5 per cent - and give them the capacity to manufacture more than 300 tonnes of glass of any colour every day.

The operational costs of a hybrid furnace are expected to be higher than those of a conventional furnace, mainly due to the higher price of electricity compared to natural gas. 

Michel Giannuzzi, president of glass manufacturing industry body FEVE, said: "This 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 and important milestone for the glass sector in implementing our decarbonisation strategy."

Martin Petersson, CEO of Ardagh Group, Glass Europe, said: "We aim to demonstrate the viability of electric melting on a commercial scale, which would revolutionise the consumer glass packaging market."

The manufacturers in the Furnace of the Future group are: Allied Glass, Ardagh Group, BA Glass, Beatson Clark, Bormioli Luigi, Gerresheimer, Gürallar Cam Ambalaj, O-I Europe, Pochet, Saverglass, SGD, Steklarna Hrastnik, Stoelzle, Verallia, Verescence, Vetreria Etrusca, Vetropack, Vidrala, Wiegand-Glashüttenwerke and Zignago Vetro.


18 March 2020 - Bethany Whymark