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'Exciting but challenging': Britain's glass industry unveils 2050 net zero vision

Post Time:Jul 20,2021Classify:Industry NewsView:1064

British Glass sets out potential decarbonisation pathways based on renewables, hydrogen, CCS, and greater recycling levels

Britain's £2bn glass industry has today unveiled its vision for a net zero glass manufacturing chain by 2050, with the publication of a major new strategy focused on shifting to renewable electricity and hydrogen fuels, increasing glass recycling, and harnessing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in order to cut CO2 emissions.


Trade body British Glass - which represents manufacturers, recyclers, and other firms across the UK's glass supply chain - said it had worked with its members to develop a new potential route for delivering net zero emissions, updating its previous 2015 decarbonisation strategy in response to the UK's overarching 2050 net zero goal.


The strategy outlines a suite of potential options to enable the UK's 10 glass companies to decarbonise their operations across 17 sites in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, focused on improving energy efficiency and tackling emissions from the manufacturing process.


Glass is set to play an increasingly critical role in the UK's green economy as a core material for the use in solar panels, wind turbines, insulation, double and triple glazing, and lighter-weight road vehicles.


However, glass manufacturing is hugely energy intensive and largely reliant on fossil fuels, and today's strategy sets out both the potential to switch furnaces to run either on renewable electricity or harness hydrogen as an alternative fuel, as well as the cost constraints the industry faces as it looks to develop new manufacturing techniques.


British Glass said improvements in glass container recycling rates could also play a key role in driving down the sector's emissions, alongside greater research into using alternative raw materials that could enable sites to replace some carbonate raw materials in the manufacturing process.


And, for larger furnaces running on lower cullet ratios, CCS could also offer a "viable solution" for capturing CO2 from glass furnace emissions, if supported by government investment in infrastructure to enable the development of a carbon capture value chain in the UK, the trade body said.


British Glass CEO Dave Dalton said the strategy offered a route for delivering net zero by 2050 "at a cost that remains competitive" across the sector, which he said directly employed around 6,000 people, while supporting another 150,000 indirect jobs.


"I look forward to what is to come in taking our industry to net zero," he said.


However, Dalton warned that policy support was needed from the government to help drive down the costs of low carbon fuels and technologies such as CCS, hydrogen, and biofuels, as well as more ambitious efforts to ramp up glass recycling across the UK and decarbonise the energy grid.


"This is an exciting, but challenging road ahead for UK glass manufacturers on the journey to net zero but we are committed and well placed to achieve this, provided the industry is supported with relevant policy to overcome the barriers to success," he said. "We are confident that the measures presented in the net zero strategy will outline the best route to both reducing and eventually eliminating carbon emissions from our industry, but it is essential that we receive the support required from government to fulfill our ambitions."


Like a number of energy intensive industries, the glass sector has been waiting for more detail from the government on how it plans to accelerate the development of the UK's nascent hydrogen and CCS industries to as to help enable the decarbonisation of the country's carbon intensive industries.

Source: https://www.businessgreen.com/Author: shangyi

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