Sven-Roger Kahl of Ardagh won the Michael Garvey award at the Society of Glass Technology's 2023 Furnace Solutions conference.

Mr Kahl, Manager of the Furnace Operations Group at Ardagh, provided a presentation which discussed Ardagh’s ‘NextGen’ hybrid furnace at its site in Obernkirchen, Germany.

Mr Kahl’s presentation, titled ‘Ways to make container glass more sustainable until 2030 and beyond’, revealed the next steps in the NextGen project, as well as other Ardagh projects in development – such as the installation of an electrolyser at Ardagh Glass Limmared.

Melting Technical Committee (MTC) Member, Nigel Longshaw said the paper was the best presented, most relevant, and most interesting of the two days.

He said: “It's very relevant, and it is also encouraging that glass producers are willing to talk to the industry and explain what they're doing; why they're doing it; what they've learned; what they need to do: and what they've done wrong.

“It was a good exchange of ideas, rather than it being ‘this is my secret and I'm not telling you’. The benefit is for the industry and for the environment.”

The construction Ardagh’s of the large-scale hybrid electric furnace began last month, with output planned for Q3/Q4 this year.

The 350 tpd furnace will use up to 70% cullet to produce bottles, primarily in amber glass.

The furnace will also gradually increase its use of renewable electricity until the balance is 20% natural gas and 80% electricity.

Mr Kahl predicted that the 20% of natural gas could be replaced with hydrogen as early as 2028.

The Michael Garvey Award is presented each year to the winner of the best paper and is sponsored by Guardian Industries.

A record total of 126 people attended last week's conference at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, UK, next door to the Glass Futures’ Global Centre of Excellence.

Visitors came from Italy, France, the Netherlands, Turkey and Poland as well as the UK and included glassmakers, glass technology suppliers and associations.

They heard 14 conference papers over the two days, with an overall focus on sustainability and new technology.

*A review of Furnace Solutions 2023 will be published in a forthcoming printed issue of Glass International.*