Ardagh Glass has begun construction on a hybrid furnace to switch to renewable electricity at its glass production facility in Obernkirchen, Germany.

The hybrid technology in the ‘NextGen’ furnace will lead to a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions, by as much as 60% in the furnace.

This 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 glass production

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 Ardagh Glass Packaging (AGP) – Europe, said: “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, added: “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.”

Ardagh said the furnace was an important step in achieving the emissions target of its 2030 Sustainability Strategy and a key milestone in its journey towards decarbonisation.

Ardagh aims to supply 100% renewable electricity to its facilities by 2030.

[1] Bundesministerium fur Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action) and KEI: Klimaschutz in Energieintensiven Industrien (Climate Protection in Energy-Intensive Industries) have provided a grant to qualifying energy-intensive industries in Germany.