A two-day glasstec UPDATE International Conference was held in Düsseldorf, Germany, on November 25 and 26. The event hosted experts from a range of fields, which explored how the industry can contribute to a climate-neutral future along the entire value chain without losing its competitiveness, according to a press release.

According to organizers, the conference discussed how the glass industry is working on switching to alternative energy sources to reduce CO2 emissions. Currently, the focus is on three technologies: complete electrification with green power, the construction of hybrid glass melting furnaces which run on electricity and natural gas or, later, hydrogen, and the use of renewable gases such as hydrogen or biogenic gases.

Experts also emphasized the glass industry’s need for political support to shape the transformation process to maintain its competitiveness. “The glass industry faces up to the challenges of the future and does intensive research into the conversion of its processes. But it also depends on politicians creating the necessary infrastructure and framework for the transformation. Above all, this includes low energy prices and subsidies to compensate for the additional costs of decarbonization, e.g., via so-called Carbon Contracts for Difference, in order to remain competitive after the switch to renewable energy sources,” said Johann Overath, director general of the Federal Association of the German Glass Industry.

Architects and planners also shared their visions on climate-neutral construction, energy-efficient buildings and the urban life of the future without losing focus on a healthy and livable environment.

Stefan Kieckhöfel, director general of the Federal Association of Glazier Trades and member of the program committee, also spoke on the importance of the skilled trades. “Some 14% of all CO2 emissions in Germany come from the building sector. However, the emissions produced by power generation and distance heating or by building materials are not factored in here but attributed to the energy sector and the industry. Nevertheless, we see it as one of our most urgent tasks to play an intensive role in the energy-efficient refurbishment of buildings by actively approaching end customers and building owners with advice. Particularly in the existing window stock, there is still an enormous need to catch up in terms of energy refurbishment,” he said.

The megatrends decarbonization and CO2-neutrality will also be addressed during glasstec 2022, September 20 – 23, 2022, in Düsseldorf, Germany.