German glass association the Bundesverband Glasindustrie (BV Glas) presented its CO2 roadmap for climate neutrality at a parliamentary evening.
In front of around 50 invited guests from the Bundestag, ministries and the glass industry, the Institute for Energy Economics and Rational Energy Application (IER) of the University of Stuttgart explained climate paths that should lead the glass industry towards climate neutrality by 2045.
The IER has calculated a total of three scenarios for the glass industry and they all lead to the goal.
Whether hydrogen, biogas or electricity, the key to climate neutrality is to replace natural gas, which currently still accounts for 77% of the final energy mix, in the long term.
The conventional melting tanks would have to be replaced by all-electric or hybrid technologies.
However, these are not yet ready for the market, so that a lot of research and development will be required in the coming years.
During the presentation, Matthias Leisin from the IER emphasised: "The rapid expansion of electricity and hydrogen networks is a key task for the decarbonization of the glass industry to succeed.
"Simply by converting the conventional melting tanks to fully or partially electric operation, the electricity demand would increase by a factor of 5 to 37 PJ per year."
One question remains open: while energy-related emissions can be reduced to zero by switching to alternative energy sources, there is still no solution for the process-related emissions that result directly from the raw materials.
So far, only the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS/CCU) process is available here, in which CO2 is captured and stored or reused.
For the first time, the costs for a transformation of the glass industry are also available: The industry would have to spend around €4.5 billion to convert to climate-neutral melting furnaces.
A sum that cannot be raised alone if companies want to continue to survive in global competition.
BV Glass President Heinricht appealed to the politicians present to stand up for the appropriate framework conditions for the industry.
"We need sufficient green electricity, an expansion of the infrastructure and finally a competitive industrial electricity price! In addition, support for alternative technologies should also cover the additional costs of operation."
The energy costs per ton of glass alone would increase by an average of 150% through the use of climate-neutral technologies.