NSG Group Fires Furnace on 100% Biofuel; Recognized as Supplier Engagement Leader

Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, has become the
world’s first flat glass manufacturer to fire its St. Helens, U.K., furnace completely on biofuel. This is part of an industry trial to find sustainable alternatives to natural gas.

A sustainable biofuel made from organic waste materials powered the furnace entirely for four days, creating 1.7 million square feet** of what Pilkington calls the lowest carbon float glass ever made. The fuel emits about 80% less carbon dioxide than traditional natural gas used in the sector.

The trial forms part of a $9.5 million* project led by industry research and technology organization Glass Futures, working under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Program. It demonstrates that the U.K. furnace could run safely at full production on the low-carbon fuel without impacting product quality.

“Our world-first trial with Glass Futures proves how biofuel presents a realistic, low-carbon alternative to natural gas, which will allow manufacturers to cut thousands of tons of CO2 from their production years ahead of alternative zero-carbon options becoming more readily available,” says Neil Syder, managing director at Pilkington UK.

In other news, NSG Group was recognized by CDP, an international environmental non-profit organization, as a supplier engagement leader, the highest-ranking in its evaluation of supplier engagement.

The CDP Supplier Engagement Rating is an indicator that assesses a company’s supply chain commitment to climate change issues and promotes collaboration among companies in the supply chain, according to a press release. This year’s survey selected about 500 companies worldwide for the supplier engagement leader.

*Indicates financial information converted from pounds to U.S. dollars on February 25, 2022. **Indicates dimensions converted from square meters to square feet.

DOE Explores Opportunities for BIPV

While building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products have been available for over a decade, adoption has been slower than initially expected. Now, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), and Building Technologies Office (BTO) are exploring technical and commercial challenges, as well as opportunities for these systems. According to the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, BIPV systems could have a competitive value proposition relative to current building-applied solar technologies.

While roof-mounted solar systems on buildings are more common, BIPV systems offer other ways to site solar technologies on buildings, such as directly integrating solar modules into the roof or the building’s façade. Integrating solar generation directly into building components could improve material and supply chain efficiencies and reduce system costs, according to the announcement.

“There is so much untapped potential to make solar energy more ubiquitous in our communities and create high-performing, energy-efficient buildings,” says Kelly Speakes-Backman, principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “Innovative strategies that use building integrated photovoltaics can improve solar integration, enable new designs and uses, and support our decarbonization goals.”

More information is available at www.energy.gov/eere.

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