Making glass with low-carbon fuels – The Royal Society

The Royal Society article

Glass Futures had the honor of attending the annual Labs to Riches dinner to celebrate the Royal Society’s support for innovation in science and technology.

Labs to riches brings together leaders in academia, industry and government to promote the importance of research
and development to the UK economy and to celebrate the achievements of some of our leading innovative thinkers
and entrepreneurs.

Glass Futures was set up to bring industry and academia together to identify ways of decarbonising the production of glass bottles, float glass for windows and glass-fibre. In 2020, Richard and our team received Government funding to start a programme investigating the potential of alternative low carbon fuels in glass furnaces.

“A Royal Society conference I attended a few years ago introduced me to a senior Government Minister who understood the needs of the glass and other foundation industries. Without this connection, Glass Futures may never have got off the ground.” – Richard Katz

The programme tested a variety of low carbon fuels, including hydrogen, liquid biofuels and green electricity
hybrids, for large scale glass production on an industrial test bed. The trials showed that using liquid biofuel produced from waste materials, such as used cooking oils, resulted in a carbon footprint reduction of 90% for bottle manufacture and approximately 80% reduction for float glass production.

These achievements have attracted interest from leading glass manufacturers and their major brand customers across the globe. Richard and our team now partner with existing glass manufacturers and their supply chains to understand
their manufacturing process and how they could utilise alternative sustainable energy sources. A new glassmaking pilot facility, the Global Centre of Excellence, is currently under construction in St Helens and is due for completion in early 2023. This facility will allow industry and academia to continue to test new technologies, and enable further research into decarbonising not only glass, but other industries such as ceramics and steel.

“As Glass Futures CEO, I was honoured to represent Glass Futures at the influential annual Labs to Riches dinner hosted by the Royal Society at their magnificent Carlton House Terrace building on 28th March. This dinner celebrates ‘Innovation in Manufacturing’ with Glass Futures featured for our ‘Making glass with low-carbon fuels’ processes.  This was an outstanding occasion in the presence of many captains of industry and academia!” – Richard Katz.