Glass Futures has secured a £15 million investment from the UK Government as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge to build its Centre of Excellence in St Helens, UK.
The funding will be used to establish a state-of-the-art glass furnace R&D facility in St Helens, reviving the closed United Glass facility.
The plant will be capable of producing 30 tonnes of sustainable glass a day – equivalent to 60,000 wine bottles - which will be used in products such as jars, bottles, windows, doors, and fibre glass.
The Liverpool City Region will benefit from a total of a £54 million investment to revitalise its glass industry and support the region’s economic recovery.
The remaining funding is being provided by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, who is aiming to provide a further £10m for works to make the building suitable, St Helens Borough Council who is allocating £9 million towards the cost of the project to be recouped in rent paid by Glass Futures and glass sector companies will contribute a further £20m.
Richard Katz, Chief Executive of Glass Futures, said: “This £15m funding is an essential catalyst to kickstart the delivery of Glass Futures’ £54m Global Centre of Excellence in St Helens, an area rich in glass history.
“The state-of-the-art facility will enable Glass Futures and its members to work collaboratively to research and develop innovative solutions enhancing resource efficiency, moving the industry closer to sustainable low-carbon glass production and increasing productivity.
“With this grant, UKRI recognises the importance glass has to play in a future to be built on sustainable, fully recyclable, low-carbon products manufactured with highly efficient processes.”
The Government’s £15 million investment will be used to buy specialist equipment to improve energy and resource efficiency, research alternative raw materials, and boost productivity and training.
Initial building design work for the factory has already commenced and following completion of the design and winning of planning approval, construction is planned to start in 2021.
You can also rewatch our recent webinar featuring Aston Fuller, General Manager at Glass Futures, who explained the role the company is playing to develop sustainable, fully recyclable, low-carbon glass products for worldwide markets below.