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Furnace for the Future - EU consideration

The Furnace for the Future (F4F) has been selected out of 311 projects to progress to the second phase of the EU Innovation Fund1, one of the world’s largest funding programmes for the demonstration of innovative, low-carbon technologies.

The F4F project is a breakthrough technology, which will enable the industry to switch to renewable electricity and cut CO2 emissions by up to 60% in the furnace (50% across the whole factory). Container glass production currently uses a mix of roughly 80% gas and 20% electricity. By inverting this to have a mix of roughly 20% gas and 80% renewable electricity, the carbon footprint of glass packaging will be dramatically reduced.

“We are honoured to be among the 70 projects considered by the European Commission as strategic to a climate-neutral Circular Economy,” said John Sadlier, Chief Sustainability Officer at Ardagh Group. “The Furnace for the Future represents a key step towards a sustainable future for glass packaging. Decarbonisation is a key priority for our business, but it is also critical for our customers in achieving their sustainability goals.” added Sadlier.

Electric melting already exists but is limited to small-scale furnaces for clear glass with limited recycled glass content. The F4F will make electric melting work in a large-scale, industrial hybrid oxyfuel furnace, running on 80% renewable electricity, for all glass colours, using high amounts of recycled glass.

The F4F project is technically and financially supported by 19 container glass companies who have signed a binding agreement and who, together, represent over 90% of production in Europe. Ardagh Group has been selected to build the furnace at their Obernkirchen site in Germany and will make the application as the beneficiary, strongly supported by the industry-wide consortium.

Each of the industry partners will co-fund the project and in return will have access to the new technology and know-how. Working as a sector has many advantages for the subsequent roll out and scalability of the technology.

“We are proud to be taking the next step forward in our industry transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy,” remarked Martin Petersson, CEO Glass Europe at Ardagh Group. “We welcome the support from our partners, our customers and all industry stakeholders in making this important decarbonisation project a reality.”

1The EU Innovation Fund will provide EUR 10 billion of support over 2020-2030 for the commercial demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies, aiming to bring industrial solutions to decarbonise Europe to the market, and support its transition to climate neutrality.

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