A report from Glass Futures suggests low grade waste biofuels could decarbonise UK glass manufacturing.

Glass Futures, a not-for-profit research technology organisation, has published its report for the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The report found low grade waste biofuels have the potential to decarbonise glass and ceramics manufacturing furnaces and kilns across the UK.

Combustion trials undertaken by Glass Futures found that low-grade fuels (derived from cooking and waste oils) had a similar heat transfer efficiency to natural gas.

The analysis of the emissions also indicated that they are not expected to impact glass quality, although further investigation is required.

Dr Bridget Stewart, Senior Projects Manager at Glass Futures said: "We have identified ten waste-derived fuels for possible use in glass furnaces and ceramic kilns.

“Flashpoint and viscosity were found to be the factors having the strongest influence on suitability, followed by calorific value and the availability of fuels in volume. Three of the ten fuels were put forward for combustion performance trials.

"Much of our work focused on the challenges that accompany the combustion of waste-derived biofuels and economic considerations that present a major challenge to decarbonisation in our sectors, particularly given the high cost and low availability of low carbon fuels compared to natural gas.

"Our trials indicated that low cost, waste derived biofuels, have the potential to provide a cost-effective route to help manufacturers of glass and ceramic products to begin decarbonising their operations by 2025."

The project also found that industry should be able to make a potential switch ‘relatively straightforwardly' within three to five years with only minor changes required to the furnace/kiln and site infrastructure.

The knowledge gaps to be explored in potential future projects include methods for managing the variability in fuel quality and characteristics opportunities to reduce NOx emissions for certain fuels, and optimisation of fuel combustion.

Read the full report here.