Glass sector plans for a multi-million-pound research centre are set to be unveiled.

Industry chiefs from across the UK and Europe will hear how they can influence and benefit from research into clean fuels and innovation to boost manufacturing productivity.

They will set the agenda for how the £1.6bn UK sector and its supply chain can benefit from the ‘Glass Futures’ project at a conference on July 23 in St Helens, UK.

The £40million research facility will be based at the former United Glass site in St Helens and will have the first and only experimental furnace of its kind in the world.

The project is also set to create up to 50 jobs on site and another 1,000 jobs in the supply chain.

Richard Katz, Director of Glass Futures, said: “This conference will shape the future of the glass sector, its research into clean fuels, and its manufacturing productivity for the next century.”

The furnace will initially be able to produce 30 tonnes of glass a day to research and develop innovative ways of reducing the environmental footprint of glass manufacturing processes.

It will also explore technologies such as waste heat recovery, low-carbon fuel sources, novel raw materials, advanced process control systems, carbon capture and storage technologies, and new glass materials.

The smaller furnace will provide much greater flexibility in innovation and reduce the risk associated with trials on a larger scale.

Other foundation industries such as concrete and steel will be invited to have neighbouring bases to facilitate cross-sector working.

Dave Dalton, Chief Executive of British Glass, said: “By bringing together the best brains across the foundation industries we can put Britain at the forefront of cleaner, greener manufacturing globally, and help the country meets its carbon targets in line with the Government’s Industrial Strategy objectives.”

It is anticipated that the Glass Futures site could be up and running within a year from its commissioning, with pilot furnace trials taking place from the end of 2020.

Funding is expected to come from both industry and Government, with the project managed initially by Glass Technology Services.