Glass Futures in discussion for UK government funding

During climate talks at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Poland last December, the UK government announced plans to establish a world first carbon 'net-zero' hub of heavy industry to help the UK seize global economic opportunities of clean growth.

The ambition to be the first ‘net-zero carbon’ cluster by 2040 to cut emissions is backed by up to £170 million funding, which is expected to be backed by industry and will help heavy industries like glass, steel, ceramics, cement, chemicals and paper to share expertise and innovative low carbon solutions to move to a greener, cleaner economy. Funding will be provided through a competitive process for clusters to research, develop and demonstrate at scale the innovative solutions to lead the way to a decarbonised industrial future.

The government will also support the transformation of the glass, steel, ceramics and chemicals industries more broadly by providing up to £66 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to develop radical new technologies and establish innovation centres of excellence in these sectors.

With Glass Futures having announced plans last year for twin centres of excellence for glass in the north of England aimed at putting the UK at the forefront of global manufacturing, Richard Katz, Director of Glass Futures, told Glass Worldwide of the recent government initiatives: “I’m delighted that Her Majesty’s Government has seen fit to include the glass industry together with steel, cement, ceramics and chemical industries in their two funds totalling up to £236 million to transform production techniques, while aiming to capture and store or dramatically reduce and preferably eliminate CO2 from the processes. On behalf of the glass industry, Glass Futures is currently in discussion with government to establish how best to take this forward.”

Both the £170 million Decarbonising Industry and the £66 million Transforming Foundation Industry investments are subject to industry entering into partnership with government and providing significant co-investment to this challenge.

Glass Futures was established by major global glass producers, their supply chain and leading universities to build a 30 tonnes/day multi-function hot glass pilot plant in St Helens, adjacent to a mothballed Pilkington line, to investigate new production processes, reducing energy consumption with alternative ‘green’ energy sources, alternative raw materials, Industry 4.0 increasing efficiency and greater productivity, while removing or dramatically reducing the CO2 footprint for container, flat and fibre production.

The second centre is planned on a new high-tech campus at the University of Leeds – LeTec – to deliver step changes in intelligent smart coatings, while enhancing float glass structural strength and developing exciting products in areas such as pharmaceuticals and electronics.