Research initiative set to shape glass industry future

‘Glass – the future and £60 million funding’ is the theme for a conference on 23 July that will highlight plans for a multi-million pound research centre, expected to shape the way forward for the UK glass sector. Industry leaders from across Europe will hear how they can influence and benefit from research into clean fuels and innovation to boost manufacturing productivity. And they will set the agenda for how the £1.6 billion UK sector and its supply chain can benefit from the Glass Futures project.

A £40 million research facility will be based in St Helens, while further funding will go to research institutes along the M62 ‘glass corridor’, where some of the industry’s largest manufacturers have bases.

“I invite anyone with a business or an interest in the glass sector or the supply chain to join me for one of the most important glass sector events of the year” commented Richard Katz, Director of Glass Futures. “This conference will shape the future of the glass sector, its research into clean fuels and its manufacturing productivity for the next century. If you want your business to be involved and to benefit from this world leading centre, please make sure you are there.”

The conference will provide a valuable opportunity to engage with the Glass Futures team to help shape how funding will be allocated. For more details on the conference and how to engage with the proposed opportunities, please contact

Glass Futures will bring researchers and industry experts together on the former United Glass site at St Helens and will feature the first experimental furnace of its kind. Initially, it will be able to produce 30 tonnes of glass/day to research and develop innovative ways of reducing the environmental footprint of glass manufacturing processes. It will also explore technologies such as waste heat recovery, low-carbon fuel sources, novel raw materials, advanced process control systems, carbon capture and storage technologies and alternative glass materials.

Glass melting furnaces typically have a capacity of 300-800 tonnes/day and the smaller furnace is expected to provide much greater flexibility in innovation and reduce the risk associated with trials on a larger scale. Glass Futures will eventually develop products and processes on an industrial scale, cutting both development time and risks. Other foundation industries such as concrete and steel will be invited to have neighbouring bases to facilitate cross-sector working.

“By bringing together the best brains across the foundation industries, we can put Britain at the forefront of cleaner, greener manufacturing globally and help the country meets its carbon targets in line with the Government’s Industrial Strategy objectives” said Dave Dalton, Chief Executive of British Glass.

It is anticipated that the Glass Futures site could be operational within a year from commissioning, with pilot furnace trials taking place from the end of 2020. Funding is expected to come from both industry and Government, with the project managed initially by Glass Technology Services.


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