US glass manufacturers have been encouraged to join a glass industry hydrogen hub.

So far producers O-I, Libbey, NSG and Johns Manville alongside the GMIC have said they will take part in a proposed hydrogen for glass manufacturing hub in the Great Lakes region.

But if more companies express an interest in joining the scheme, the stronger the likelihood of securing up to $1 billion government funding for the project to go ahead.

Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC) President Dr Scott Cooper outlined the proposal at the Energy Decarbonisation in Glass Manufacturing seminar at the 83rd Conference in Glass Problems last week.

The US government wants to form hydrogen hubs in locations around the USA as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

It has allocated $8 billion for the development of these regional hubs to demonstrate the viability of the entire hydrogen value chain in production, processing, delivery, storage and end use.

As well as industry use, the hubs will meet demand from power generation, commercial heating and transportation.

Some of the supply side requirements are that two hubs have to be in natural gas regions, and also that feedstock comes from renewables, nuclear and natural gas.

Dr Cooper, who is also Global Glass and Materials Science Leader at O-I, said about six to 10 hubs will be created with each one receiving between $400 million to $1 billion in funding.

The government was looking at a 50-50 cost sharing from outside government, and this could be from industry or as an in kind contribution.

So if a company were to so if you put some equipment technology at its plant it would be regarded as an in-kind contribution.

The government has also made statements about job quality and diversity, and wants the hubs to be in areas of the US where manufacturing used to be located.

Dr Cooper said glassmakers came together on May 19 alongside the University of Toledo and representatives from furnace group Celsian discuss the proposal.

For the first time the GMIC had also visited Congressman in Washington DC during the National Day of Glass in April this year.

“It was eye-opening because we sat with Congressman and they listened. It showed that by coming together and having one voice for the industry they will pay attention, particularly if they have glass in their district.”

There are 10 glass melting furnaces within 50 miles of Toledo with a potential of 200 t/day of hydrogen for glass making.

“My message is that if you want your organisation to be a part of this, it is not too late, it is not set in stone.

"The idea is to drive alignment behind the glass industry because we are not the largest gorilla in industry. Sustainability initiatives and decarbonisation are bigger than any one of us.

“Glass is not the biggest emitter on the block but it is substantial, we have to come together.

“My call to action would be if you’re a leader in manufacturing is to be telling your top leadership that we should be working together on this. If we move to the big ideas it will require investment but if we do it right we’ll get government help.”

Full proposals are due to be submitted to government by April 23.

Any glass manufacturers interested in joining the alliance should contact Dr Cooper or incoming GMIC Executive Director Kerry Ward.