Ardagh Glass GmbH, part of Ardagh Glass Packaging (AGP) – Europe, recently began construction on a groundbreaking hybrid furnace to enable a switch to renewable electricity at its glass production facility in Obernkirchen, Germany.
The incorporation of hybrid technology in the aptly named ‘NextGen’ furnace is set to bring a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. The furnace alone could achieve a reduction of up to 60%, which marks a crucial advancement in Ardagh’s pursuit of its emissions target outlined in the 2030 Sustainability Strategy. This milestone holds significant importance in the company’s ongoing efforts to transition towards a decarbonized future.
Scheduled to become operational later this year, this groundbreaking, expansive hybrid electric furnace represents a remarkable innovation as the inaugural facility of its kind. It boasts the ability to predominantly run on renewable electricity while relying on a minimal quantity of gas. Leveraging substantial amounts of recycled glass cullet, this furnace has the capacity to manufacture approximately 350 tonnes of glass bottles per day, focusing primarily on amber glass while also offering the capability to produce other colors. Anticipated to commence the production of commercial glass containers in the near future, this furnace stands as a remarkable advancement in sustainable glass manufacturing.
Decarbonising the glass production process
Container glass production currently uses a mix of approximately 90% gas and 10% electricity. By inverting this energy mix in favour of 80% renewable electricity and 20% gas, the new technology will dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of glass packaging.
Martin Petersson, CEO of AGP – Europe, comments: “Decarbonisation is a key priority for our business and our customers. The NextGen Furnace represents a significant investment in creating a sustainable future for glass packaging, and we intend to roll-out this and other low carbon solutions across other AGP facilities in the coming years. We are grateful for the grant support provided by BMWK1 and KEI which is helping to realise the benefits of this new technology.”
Annelene Ikemann, Sustainability Director at AGP – Europe, adds: “AGP is a leading supplier of sustainable, infinitely recyclable glass packaging. Our NextGen Furnace, in combination with our target to supply 100% renewable electricity to our facilities by 2030, is a positive step forward along our Sustainability Roadmap. In future phases of this project, AGP aims to replace the remaining gas with green hydrogen, which will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In subsequent steps on our sustainability journey, we will look at a wider range of alternative melting technologies as we decarbonise our other facilities.”
Committed to a low-carbon future
Ardagh is committed to decarbonising the glass production process over the longer term, by replacing traditional gas-powered furnaces with low-carbon furnaces, across all of the Group’s glass manufacturing operations globally.
Bundesministerium fur Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (Federal Ministry for Economics and Climate Protection) and KEI: Klimaschutz in Energieintensiven Industrien (Climate Protection in Energy-Intensive Industries) have provided a grant to qualifying energy-intensive industries in Germany.
Ardagh Group is a global supplier of infinitely recyclable metal and glass packaging for brand owners around the world. Ardagh operates 65 metal and glass production facilities in 16 countries, employing more than 21,000 people with sales of approximately $10bn.