An innovative research and technology center that will assist the worldwide glass sector make greener products has launched.
Glass Futures £54m A novel experimental furnace and other equipment will pioneer carbon neutral glassmaking at the Global Centre of Excellence in St Helens.
At a gathering on 6 June, Glass Futures CEO Richard Katz remarked, “I don’t let go in a hurry and a decade after the idea of Glass Futures was first conceived that dream has come to fruition.
The glass and foundation industries (ceramics, steel, metal, chemicals, paper, and cement) must decarbonize, utilize energy responsibly, and shift away from natural gas.
We exist because of our founders, members, funders, and supporters, but this is only the beginning.
Over 100 Glass Futures members, including glass makers and university professors, attended the event.
UK businessman and Vice-Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership Juergen Maier CBE, one of Glass Futures’ early sponsors, said: “We need to create new industries of the future, that’s the only way to ultimately create well paid jobs and prosperity.
Global manufacturing’s biggest problem is reducing carbon emissions.
St Helens pioneered the float glass method, which is now the industry standard. Encirc is researching hydrogen-powered glass furnaces.
“These are hard. Glass Futures can engineer and standardize them. We’re building a future glass industry…Look around and picture the prosperity that all of it creates.”
St Helens College students cooked lunch for guests before showing them where the 30-tonne-per-day furnace would be erected before its maiden fire in early 2024.
Glass Futures General Manager Aston Fuller said, “It’s been great to see so many of our members and supporters and show them the new centre, especially since many of them have been with us on the journey.
Glass Futures’ St Helens house opens a new phase. We work with as many local partners as possible, helping local businesses, creating employment, and enticing new enterprises and start-ups to the borough.”
Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said, “Building on St Helens’ proud legacy in the glassmaking industry, Glass Futures will help retain the borough’s position as a global centre of excellence. I’m happy that £9m of city region financing made it possible.
“Glass Futures ticks so many boxes for us: decarbonisation of industry, clean energy, new well-paid jobs in a scheme that will make us a world leader.
“Transformative projects like this will help us – and the planet – reach our ambitious targets to be net zero carbon by 2040 at the latest, at least a decade ahead of national targets.”