Glass Futures research technology organisation has secured £18 million funding to investigate solutions to decarbonise energy intensive industries.

The not-for-profit, which opened its new £54m Global Centre of Excellence in St Helens in June, will be involved in three projects to pave the way for the glass and ceramic industries to drastically cut carbon emissions.

Through investigations into 100% hydrogen, low-cost biofuels and electrical boosting, Glass Futures will partner with its members across the ceramic and glass sectors to drive a smoother, faster transition from fossil fuels.

The three projects are Rapid and Dynamic Electric Boosting of Glass Furnaces (R&D-Electric), demonstrating the viability of low-cost biofuels for glass and ceramics, and Demonstrating Hydrogen in the Ceramics sector.

It secured £7m funding and £11m for its members from the UK government’s Department for Energy, Security and Net Zero.

Glass Futures CEO Richard Katz, said: “Without government funding like this much of our ground-breaking research to date wouldn’t have been possible.

“This new hydrogen project directly addresses the technological gaps we identified in the feasibility stage so we can now fully develop and assess the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of hydrogen technologies.

“Similarly, there is a need to investigate electric boosting and any short-term commercial benefits.

“The Glass industry operates furnaces that are continually running with long-operation lifetimes, there simply isn’t the time or money to trial new fuel technologies that might not work.

“This is the exact reason Glass Futures, and our new Centre of Excellence exists – to bring together glass and foundation industries, united by the aim of decarbonisation, with academia to trial innovative, technologies and solutions on an industrial scale.”

He added: “Demonstrating the viability of low-cost biofuels will offer solutions to off-cluster manufacturing sites globally where the cost of developing the necessary infrastructure to provide low carbon fuels like hydrogen and electricity are likely to be prohibitive but there are large amounts of local bio-derived waste streams in abundance.”