A consortium of glass manufacturers has requested a grant of $31.4 million to help create a Glass Centre of Excellence.

The group which includes container glassmaker O-I, tableware producer Libbey, flat glass manufacturer Pilkington and glass composites group Owens Corning are among organisation to have asked the state of Ohio, USA for the grant.

The group of 12 different Ohio organisations also includes the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC) industry association and glass customer First Solar.

The group, the Northwest Ohio Innovation Consortium (NOIC), said if the grant is approved they will commit $10.5 million of their own funds, to create a total of more than $40 million.

If approved the centre of excellence would advance glassmaking and boost recycling rates said the NOIC.

NOIC’s Regional Innovation Officer Roger Smith, said: “State funding will accelerate our ability to solve industry-wide challenges and drive innovation in priority areas like sustainability, cost, and product performance, which are business imperatives for the companies of northwest Ohio.”

The centre of excellence would be a physical location for collaboration featuring laboratory, meeting and office space for industry, universities and partners to work together to solve important common issues in the glass industry.

It will focus on improvements in glass melting, such as alternative fuels and necessary infrastructure improvements; melting technology such as furnace efficiency and longevity; AI process control focused on energy optimisation and consistency and glass surface treatments such as strength and weight improvements.

It will also investigate recycling system optimisation and getting the most out of available recycling streams, and will look at developing industry talent, from high school to PhD level to ensure children are interested in glass.

Mr. Smith said a funding decision should come by June.

The Toledo consortium is competing for a piece of a total $125 million pool of state funding for tech hub development beyond the cities of Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.

Those cities have already received grants for medical and bio-technology tech hubs from a different pot of state funds.

Other members of the consortium include the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University and Owens Community College.