German speciality glass manufacturer Schott has received €14.8 million funding for the construction of a climate-friendly glass melting tank.

In the project, pharmaceutical glass is to be manufactured largely without causing greenhouse gas emissions.

The glass industry is one of the most energy-intensive industrial sectors in Germany. High CO2 emissions are generated during production.

The largest share of the energy requirement is generated in the melting process. The glass raw materials are melted in refractory furnaces at temperatures of up to 1,700 degrees Celsius.

Glass melting is a complex process. The development of new technologies is therefore associated with major challenges.

Schott is taking on this task and wants to gradually decarbonise its energy-intensive processes. The company is researching innovative ways to melt glass using green electricity and green hydrogen.

The group is now demonstrating the technical feasibility of low-CO2 manufacturing of speciality glass for the pharmaceutical industry by setting up a pilot plant on an industrial scale.

Over the past two years, Schott has been doing basic work in various research projects. Now, the company is taking the next step: The research results will be tested on an industrial scale in an melting tank concept.

Schott Chairman, Dr. Frank Heinricht, said: “Our technological transformation is a mammoth task. It requires a massive upheaval in glass production with, in some cases, groundbreaking innovations.

“We ourselves are investing heavily here to achieve our ambitious climate goal. Such feats of strength can only succeed with the help of government research funding. The approved funding helps us to develop such technical innovations in Germany.”

Around €40 million is being invested in the Prospect Pilot project for the construction and use of the new glass melting tank to be built in Mitterteich, Bavaria.

The project period is the next three years with the pilot plant powered primarily by green electricity. Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by about 80% compared to current technology.

The promotion of the climate-friendly process takes place as part of the Decarbonization in Industry programme of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK).

The programme is managed by the Competence Center for Energy Intensive Industry in Germany (KEI).

KEI Director Dr. Mario Hüttenhofer, said: “Climate protection is an enormous challenge for the energy-intensive glass industry. We are therefore pleased to be able to support it on its way to greenhouse gas neutrality with this pilot project.

“Ultimately, the goal is to electrify the processes as far as possible in order to concretely promote the abandonment of fossil energies. The entire glass industry will be decarbonised in the medium term with the help of this know-how.”

With this funding, the BMWK is supporting energy-intensive industry in permanently reducing process-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The project is also financed by the European Union through the NextGenerationEU fund.

The main contact for the Decarbonisation in Industry programme is the Competence Center for Climate Protection in Energy-Intensive Industries based in Cottbus.