Funding helps fuel hydrogen project in push for net zero

The British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) is delighted to announce that £300,000 of Government funding has been awarded for a project to study the feasibility of using hydrogen as a fuel for the ceramics sector as the industry pushes to work towards net zero targets.

The funding has been awarded by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for research which will be led by the BCC.

The BCC will work on the project with 12 member companies from the BCC’s Hydrogen Project Working Group, representing key areas of the ceramics sector (bricks, roof tiles, floor/wall tiles, sanitaryware, refractories, drainage pipes and tableware). Further support will be provided by not-for-profit research and technology organisation, Glass Futures.

The ‘Hydrogen for the ceramics sector’ project will review the feasibility of converting the UK ceramics sector from natural gas fired kilns, to kilns that can be fired with hydrogen fuels (up to 100%), laying the groundwork for industrial-scale hydrogen trials in a Phase 2 follow-on project.

The glass and ceramic industries share common challenges when it comes to transitioning furnaces and kilns from natural gas to low-carbon hydrogen fuels. As such, it makes sense for our two sectors to collaborate and pool resources and knowledge to develop solutions to these challenges.

BCC is delighted to be leading this hydrogen project. We look forward to assessing the feasibility of hydrogen for the ceramics sector and developing proposals for demonstrator projects as part of Phase 2.

Said BCC Energy & Innovation Manager, Jon Flitney

The project will provide a comprehensive assessment of the feasibility to switch the ceramics sector to hydrogen through:

A review into current work being undertaken across the globe into hydrogen technologies for the ceramics sector, building links with other groups working in this field

Undertaking combustion trials to benchmark a range of hydrogen fuel scenarios (up to 100%) against natural gas, assessing the impact on ceramics bodies being fired under such conditions

Undertaking an economic modelling exercise to assess the costs of switching industrial ceramics sites to hydrogen

Scoping out and planning industrial-scale hydrogen trials at a range of ceramics manufacturing sites

This project will be a step forward to help answer questions about the feasibility of hydrogen in the ceramics sector.

It is gratifying to see the sector come together in this way, as we all acknowledge the importance of this work as we push to confirm viable routes towards net zero in order to meet 2050 decarbonisation targets.

Said Hydrogen Project Working Group chair Stephane Vissiere, from Wienerberger

The group will also look to engage with other industrial sectors and ceramics research groups including outside the UK.

We’re delighted the BCC has chosen Glass Futures as the preferred partner to lead their investigations. It’s great that we’ve been able to use the experience and knowledge gained from our recently completed Industrial Fuel Switching (IFS) Phase 3 programme to help the BCC Hydrogen project team secure funding in the latest round of the IFS competition.

As part of this work, the Glass Futures team is making a number of modifications to our multi-fuel combustion testbed rig, which includes incorporating the capability to use hydrogen fuels from ambient temperatures and the ability to fire ceramics products within the combustion chamber.

Said Rob Ireson, Innovation and Partnerships Manager

The BCC members involved are Wienerberger, Churchill China, DSF Refractories, Forterra, Hinton Perry & Davenhill, Ibstock, Ideal Standard, Johnson Tiles, Marley, Michelmersh, Naylor and Wavin.