British Glass CEO Dave Dalton looked towards a positive future for the glass industry, whilst challenging companies to begin tackling the challenge of decarbonisation as he opened one of the expert seminars run by the Sheffield based firm.
The ‘Future energy options for glass melting’ seminar took place in Wakefield on 4 December, and fielded an impressive array of speakers from across the industry.
“We are starting the dialogue on the future of energy in our sector, and I hope you will take it back to your own companies and as a sector we start resolving this problem,” said Dave Dalton, Chief Executive of British Glass, as he addressed the delegates who were present at the Cedar Court Hotel.
He was followed by Dr Nick Kirk, Technical Director at British Glass, as he outlined the challenges facing the glass manufacturing sector, and the work by British Glass to tackle the issues of low carbon technologies, increasing recycling, promoting the benefits of glass, and campaigning to raise the standards of building glass regulations.
The presentation section of the seminar was opened by Olu Fasan of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who spoke on the Government’s GBP 315 million Innovation programme to accelerate the development of clean energy technologies, and how manufacturers will be able to access this fund through a competitive process.
Delegates from across the glass industry then heard from a number of speakers about a range of topics, all focusing on the melting technology the glass industry will need to adapt in order to meet the 2050 decarbonisation goal.
Ken Cronin of the UK Onshore Oil and Gas Association, outlined the history of onshore gas production and the options and challenges surrounding renewable energy, including national policy versus local planning decisions.
Andrew Self of Ofgem discussed electricity networks, price controls, regulations, and how the department is working to ensure all consumers get a greater voice on prices and access.
Adam Baddeley of Progressive Energy spoke about its work with a range of hydrogen-related projects. These include HyNet NorthWest, which allows industry to move over to hydrogen incrementally, and HyMotion which explores hydrogen transport.
Julie Gartside, SLR Consulting, detailed eligibility for competitive application for the industrial waste heat recovery funding programme, and the need to build confidence that heat recovery worked.
Neil Simpson, Celsian, updated the seminar on CO2 neutral glass melting.
Andy Reynolds, Fives Stein Ltd, focused on practical aspects of all electric melting technology. He said that longer furnace life and likely changes to fuel economics over the next 20 years were driving customers to ask how furnaces can be designed to adapt to this. Although electric furnaces have a shorter life, this could be seen as an advantage as it allows more frequent technology upgrades to meet the changing energy landscape.
Finally, Andrew McKenna of Northern Powergrid talked about the development of flexibility markets.
Dave Dalton, making closing remarks, briefly outlined the Glass Futures project in which British Glass is a founding partner.
“Glass Futures is a collaborative platform for the global glass community to share ideas and bring forward the brightest and best to train for the industry, in a pre-competitive environment,” he said.
“We can act as a model for the rest of the world, and ultimately we can go to Government and demonstrate how we can deliver the future.”
He concluded: “Last night [Monday 3 December] at a CBI event I met the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and told him that we are working together as an industry – but we need certainty on what the energy mix of the future will look like. Certainty is important. We’re an industry that wants to react positively.”