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 hybrid technology in the aptly named ‘NextGen’ furnace will lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, by as much as 60 percent in the furnace – an important step in achieving the emissions target of Ardagh’s 2030 Sustainability Strategy and a key milestone in its journey towards decarbonisation.
This pioneering, large-scale hybrid electric furnace will be the first of its kind that can run predominantly on renewable electricity and a small amount of gas. It will use high levels of recycled glass cullet to produce up to 350 tonnes of glass bottles per day, primarily in amber glass, with the capability of making other colours. It is expected that the furnace will become operational and start to produce commercial glass containers later this year.
Decarbonising the glass production process
Container glass production currently uses a mix of approximately 90 percent gas and 10 percent electricity. By inverting this energy mix in favour of 80 percent renewable electricity and 20 percent gas, the new technology will dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of glass packaging.
Martin Petersson, CEO of AGP – Europe, commented, “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 BMWK* and KEI which is helping to realise the benefits of this new technology.”
Annelene Ikemann, Sustainability Director at AGP – Europe, added, “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 Economic Affairs and Climate Action) and KEI: Kompetenzzentrum Klimaschutz in energieintensiven Industrien (Competence Centre on Climate Change Mitigation in Energy-Intensive Industries) have provided a grant to qualifying energy-intensive industries in Germany.