Like many companies in the glass industry, Germany-based SCHOTT is working to become more sustainable and environmentally conscious. With a goal to be climate neutral by 2030, the company’s latest ambition, could bring it closer to meeting that goal. SCHOTT recently launched a pilot project to test the large-scale use of hydrogen in glass production at its headquarters in Mainz. The development of a climate-friendly melting process would assist the company in its climate neutral goals.
SCHOTT, along with its partners, invested approximately $750,000 in the effort, which includes more than $357,000 from the European Regional Development Fund. The company wrote in a news release that the largest share of its energy requirements and carbon emissions occur during the melting process, which entails the melting of glass at 1,700 degrees Celsius in order to produce specialty glass for its products. Prior to the announcement, those melting tanks were heated with natural gas and sometimes electricity.
“In order to develop climate-friendly glass melting processes, SCHOTT has started several research projects,” the company writes. “They are focusing primarily on electrification based on green electricity and on hydrogen combustion. In both approaches, electricity from renewable energies plays a decisive role. Now, the company plans to test hydrogen-natural gas-blends in large-scale melting trials at a furnace at its Mainz headquarters for the first time.”
The trial will see research and development experts gradually replace natural gas with hydrogen. Throughout the course of one month, the ratio of hydrogen in the natural gas/hydrogen mixture will increase gradually up to 35% by volume in three test phases. Each phase will last approximately 10 days.
According to SCHOTT, the company will use these experiments to learn more about the effects of hydrogen in glass melting processes, with the long-term goal to greatly reduce carbon emissions in the long term.”
According to SCHOTT, the initiative is the first of its kind for the specialty glass industry.
“Becoming climate-neutral means that we have to come up with groundbreaking technological innovations,” says Dr. Jens Schulte, member of the board of management and responsible for the company’s Zero Carbon program. “Transforming our glass melting technology is a highly complex process with many technical hurdles. That’s why we would like to thank our partners for awarding us these grants to support these innovative projects.”