Japanese glass manufacturer AGC has succeeded in using ammonia as fuel for a glass melting furnace.

The project, entitled ‘Technology Development for the Utilisation and Production of Ammonia as Fuel’, is being undertaken as a commissioned project by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO).

The project aims to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the glass manufacturing process.

It is a joint technology development effort with Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and National University Corporation Tohoku University.

For the project, an actual test of ammonia combustion technology was conducted using an ammonia-oxygen burner with low NOx combustion technology.

A pair of burners developed by Taiyo Nippon Sanso to prevent a rapid rise in flame temperature through multi-stage combustion were installed in the glass melting furnace (actual production furnace) used to produce architectural glass at the AGC Yokohama Technical Centre.

The world's first demonstration test using ammonia as fuel was conducted for two days from June 18 to 19, 2023.

In the demonstration test, compared with conventional combustion methods using heavy oil as fuel under various conditions, the effects on the quality of glass, furnace materials, and control of the flame temperature, furnace temperature, and NOx emissions were verified.

In this test, the NOx concentration in the exhaust gas was found to be below the environmental criterion value while maintaining the required temperature of the glass melting furnace.

The plan for 2023 is to continue conducting technical verification using ammonia as fuel under various conditions, using the glass melting furnace that produces architectural glass at the AGC Yokohama Technical Centre.

After 2024, plans are to conduct scaled-up burner tests and demonstration tests using glass melting furnaces at other AGC sites.

The goal is to fully introduce ammonia combustion technology in 2026 or later after determining the scope of its use.