Glass container manufacturer Stoelzle has joined the ZeroCO2Glas project.

The overall goal of the ZeroCO2Glas project is to use an all-encompassing approach to develop a revolutionary glass melting process in connection with a new type of CO2-neutral and energy saving glass melting furnace.

The project is funded by the German Ministry for Economy and Climate, BMWK, with a maximum of €8.38 million with a total project volume of approx. €14.94 million.

The consortium partners are German research association International Partners in Glass Research, RWTH Aachen University - Chair of Glass and Glass-Ceramic (Institute of Mineral Engineering - (GHI), WWTH Aachen University- Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering (IOB), Horn Glass Industries and Wiegand-Glas.

The funding announcement refers to increasing energy efficiency, expanding renewable energies and reducing greenhouse gases significantly.

In this respect, the ZeroCO2Glas project makes a significant contribution as it relates to an energy-intensive glass industry, where up to 85% of the energy required in the manufacturing process is used for the melting.

The batch mixture that is brought into the furnace must be heated to a temperature of 1,450°C to 1,650°C and converted into glass.

In large furnaces, this is mainly done by natural gas-fired burners.

ZeroCO2Glas focuses on the melting process, opening up the possibility of saving a particularly large amount of energy and greenhouse gases.

The innovative melting technology is aimed to reduce energy consumption by 15% compared to conventional furnaces, and shall allow CO2-free glass melting.

Energy savings will be achieved by using alternative and CO2-free raw materials, avoiding unnecessary humidification of the batch, as well as reducing the dwell time of the glass in the furnace due to a special melting process and the improved new furnace design.

The furnace will be set up in Aachen, Germany, as a hybrid furnace with hydrogen-oxy and natural gas-oxy firing, as well as electrical heating.

All approaches have already been tested on a laboratory scale; the project thus represents the second stage of upscaling.