Vitro Architectural Glass, formerly PPG Glass, announced that its Fresno, Calif., float glass manufacturing plant is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The milestone comes as the facility implements new technology to enhance the environmental performance of the glass-manufacturing process for Starphire ultra clear glass and other residential and commercial flat glass products. The process, which involves injecting ammonia into the facility’s oxygen-fueled (oxy-fuel) glass furnace, will reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, making it one of the lowest NOx-emitting float glass plants in the U.S.

Using cleaner, more environmentally advanced processes in its operations has been a hallmark of the plant’s efforts to manufacture glass more efficiently and reduce its carbon footprint, according to the announcement. In 2000, Fresno became the company’s first flat glass manufacturing plant to install and operate an oxy-fuel float tank. At the time, the facility was the lowest NOx-emitting plant in the U.S.

In 2014, the float glass tank was relined and a new furnace was installed. That summer, the plant started manufacturing Starphire glass with oxy-fuel furnace technology.

Operated with Vitro-owned and patented technology, the furnace uses oxygen to combust sand, silica and other raw materials. It reduces natural gas consumption by 15 percent, carbon emissions by 10 percent and NOx emissions by more than 50 percent compared to traditional gas/air-fired glass furnaces. The Fresno plant is one of only six flat glass production facilities worldwide to use this process in its manufacturing operations.

The clear glass and Starphire glass produced at the Fresno plant meet the requirements of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Products Program, a globally recognized standard for environmentally progressive, high-performance products, according to the company.

The Fresno plant, which employs approximately 150 people, produces 600 tons of standard clear and Starphire glass per day, ranging in thickness from 2.5 to 12 millimeters, for the residential and commercial construction markets.

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