Ardagh Glass is set to complete a decarbonisation investment at its glass manufacturing facility in Doncaster, UK.

It has modernised its W1 furnace at the glass production site which will reduce its energy consumption and its CO2 emissions.

But while it is making huge progress in its aim to be a sustainable packaging supplier, it feels a lack of national energy infrastructure in the UK is hampering its efforts to go even further.

The Doncaster investment project started with the demolition of its old furnace beginning on January 10 this year.

After seven months the first glass was produced from the new 430t/day end-fired furnace in August.

The last of the production lines connected to the furnace were set to be installed this week.

With a minimum of 15 years lifetime, the furnace is estimated to reduce CO2 by 20k tonnes over its lifetime.

The facility will also have an additional gas filtration process, which uses filter technology to prevent other emissions generated in the glassmaking process.

Ardagh unveiled the news at a meeting organised by British Glass earlier this week where the association's Nick Kirk was joined by Ardagh's Doncaster Plant Director James Grant and the company's UK Business Development Director, Dean Butler.

Ardagh’s site in Doncaster is one of its 56 glass production facilities around the world, with other sites in Europe, North America and South Africa.

At 172,000m² with three furnaces - W1, W2 and W3 - it has a daily capacity of 1000t with ten glass production lines and a sleeving line, alongside warehouse and recycling operations as well as a railway to transport sand.

Ardagh invested in a bottle screen printing facility at the site in 2021, investing in a fifth printing line earlier this year.

The site employs 450 people and its three furnaces make flint glass for the food and beverage sectors.

Customers include AB InBev, Heineken, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Premier Foods and Fever Tree.

Mr Grant, an industry veteran of 38 years said: "Our customers bring a lot to the site, they have high standards which have gone up, we have to go with them otherwise we will be left behind."

Giving an overview of its UK operations, Mr Butler said the company produces more than 900,000 packed tonnes a year from its UK sites from 12 furnaces and 30 production lines.

As well as Doncaster, the company has glass production facilities in nearby Barnsley and Knottingley in Yorkshire, UK as well as Irvine, Scotland, UK.

One of the challenges it faces are the locations of its UK plants which are not served by modern energy infrastructure.

The company is ready to use more hydrogen in its sites but its facilities are not located near two new hydrogen clusters announced by the UK government.

Electrical furnaces have plenty of sustainable potential but need large power generation facilities or modern electrical infrastructure to power them - something not available right now.

But upgrades to electrical infrastructure can take years. Even if these are successful, industry businesses such as Ardagh would be charged high tariffs.

Mr Butler said: "Our plants are located where they are. The infrastructure that supports them to enable decarbonisation is lacking.

“The environmental impact of our business must be as low as possible but we’ve got to be economically sustainable.

"Decarbonising technologies are available, we could do it tomorrow with an infinite pot of money - which we don't have. And this is why we urgently need government support.”