The Furnace for the Future (F4F) has been selected out of 311 projects to progress to the second phase of the EU Innovation Fund, one of the world’s largest funding programmes for the demonstration of low-carbon technologies.

The F4F project is a breakthrough technology, which will enable the industry to switch to renewable electricity and cut CO2 emissions by up to 60% in the furnace (50% for the whole factory).

Container glass production currently uses a mix of roughly 80% gas and 20% electricity.

By inverting this to have a mix of roughly 20% gas and 80% renewable electricity, the carbon footprint of glass packaging will be dramatically reduced.

Michel Giannuzzi , FEVE President, said: We are honoured to be among the 70 projects considered by the European Commission as strategic to a climate-neutral Circular Economy.

“The Furnace for the Future represents a key step towards a sustainable future for glass packaging. With this project we will address the priorities of our customers and strengthen our relationship with them.”

Electric melting already exists but is limited to small-scale furnaces for clear glass with limited recycled glass content. The F4F will make electric melting work in a large-scale, industrial hybrid oxyfuel furnace, running on 80% renewable electricity, for all glass colours, using high amounts of recycled glass.

The F4F project is technically and financially supported by 19 container glass companies which have signed a binding agreement and who, together, represent more than 90% of production in Europe.

Ardagh Group has been selected to build the furnace at its Obernkirchen site in Germany and will make the application as the beneficiary, supported by the industry-wide consortium.

Each of the industry partners will co-fund the project and in return will have access to the technology and know-how. Working as a sector has many advantages for the subsequent roll out and scalability of the technology.

Adeline Farrelly, FEVE Secretary General, said: “We are strongly committed to making our industry transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy.

“We welcome the support from public institutions and from our partners, which will help us make this transition real.”