Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, has become the world’s first flat glass manufacturer to fire its furnace on 100% biofuel as part of an industry trial to find sustainable alternatives to natural gas.

A sustainable biofuel made from organic waste materials powered the St Helens glass manufacturer’s furnace entirely for four days, creating 165,000 square feet of the lowest carbon float glass ever made, according to Pilkington. The fuel emits about 80% less CO2 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 aims to demonstrate that the 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.

*indicates financial information converted from Pounds to US Dollars on February 25, 2022.