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 attracted interest from leading glass manufacturers and their major brand customers across the globe.
Richard and his 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.