Lara Edison of glass packager Encirc won the Michael Garvey award at yesterday’s Furnace Solutions 2022 conference.

Ms Edison, a Batch and Furnace Supervisor, provided a presentation which discussed a successful three-week biofuels trial at the glass manufacturer and filler's Derrylin, Northern Ireland site.

Gas was switched with biofuels made from tallow in a project organised in conjunction with UK research and development group Glass Futures.

The trial helped reduce the CO2 emission of each glass container by 89% compared to the average container produced at the Derrylin plant in 2020.

The Furnace Solutions conference was organised by the UK Society of Glass Technology (SGT) and took place on Wednesday and Thursday this week.

SGT president Stuart Hakes said Ms Edison’s paper just edged the other presentations.

“She is a confident young woman, who knows her stuff and who delivered her paper very well. We had some strong papers from Andy Keeley at NSG and Wayne Bridger at BOC who ran her close but the content of her paper just pipped them.

“There is an older generation of glass industry professionals who are in the process of handing over the baton and when you see people like Lara you realise that the future looks good for the industry.”

The Michael Garvey Award is presented each year to the winner of the best paper and is sponsored by Guardian Industries. Recent winners have included Glass Futures' Rob Ireson in 2021, Sisecam’s Burcin Gul in 2019 and Giorgio Minestrini of Stara Glass in 2018.

A record total of 107 people attended this week's conference at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, UK, next door to the Glass Futures research and development centre construction site.

It was the first time the event had been held in St Helens and Mr Hakes said it was a wonderful venue.

Visitors came from USA, Italy, France, Germany 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 theme of decarbonisation in the glass industry.

Mr Hakes said: “I felt that this year’s event was the best yet. We had a fantastic array of speakers, everybody has commented on the range of subjects covered, and there was a good range of questions at the end of each presentation.

“It was more of a knowledgeable conference rather than one with a commercial edge and that is something that the committee has always strived for.”

He thanked the SGT’s Nigel Longshaw, Christine Brown and Lisa Tyers for their tireless work in securing the speakers.

*A review of Furnace Solutions 2022 will be published in a forthcoming printed issue of Glass International.*