Glass Futures has been awarded a UK government grant to help develop the bid for the proposed centre of excellence.

The group was awarded an initial grant by the United Kingdom Research and Innovation group (UKRI) to help prepare a feasibility study for Phase 2.

It has received up to £50, 000 earl-stage funding from the Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) to develop a full-stage bid.

It is the first time the UK government has publically announced it wold back the Glass Futures project.

Glass Futures is a proposed centre of excellence to be built on two sites in the UK. One is an R&D centre at the University of Leeds, the other is a hot glass pilot plant in St Helens.

Director and Glass Futures Advisory Board member, Richard Katz, welcomed the award but said there were still significant hurdles to overcome.

“We very much appreciate all who have helped us secure this important award and look forward to developing both our planned hot glass pilot plant and cold glass R&D centre.

“Our aim in Phase 2, where we look to secure significant funding, is to substantially strengthen the principal UK Glass Manufacturing base along the M62 corridor within the Northern Powerhouse.”

The proposed St Helens site will focus on the hot side of glass production, with a large experimental glass furnace capable of producing 30 tonnes per day for windows, bottles or fibre glass.

Research there would concentrate on raw materials and alternative energy sources to reduce carbon and other emissions by more than 80%.

Pictured: The proposed site, (outlined in red).