Government have announced £54m of investment that will go towards the development of innovative green technologies to help make glass production more productive and environmentally friendly.
As the sector association representing the glass manufacturing supply chain, British Glass has been working with Government on decarbonisation policy for decades and welcomes the investment.
Jenni Richards, Federation Manager at British Glass said, “The recent announcement has provided another significant step in the glass sector’s journey towards a low carbon future, with considerable investment in Glass Futures new glass research and development Centre of Excellence in St Helens.”
Of the £54 million package investment to revive the local industry, £15 million is direct investment from the UK Government as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge. The remaining funding is being provided by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, St Helens Borough Council and Glass Futures.
Jenni added “The joint industry/government 2015 decarbonisation roadmap exposed that the transition to low carbon glass manufacturing would be challenging and we have been delighted to see new streams of funding announced over the past five years which will help our sector decarbonise.
“A pilot research and development furnace facility to prove concept and scale of some of the more novel technologies across the glass products spectrum will allow glass manufacturers to test disruptive technologies without risk to production.
“This is why we committed to making Glass Futures happen in our 2017 Government/Industry action plan and have supported and guided the project from the outset. We continue to work on a sector net zero strategy for the UK glass sector and with BEIS and other Government departments to shape future policy to realise this ambition”.
The pilot plant will be capable of producing 30 tonnes of glass a day, giving glass manufacturers confidence that tested technologies can work at scale. Initial building design work for the factory has already commenced, funded by St Helens Borough Council. Following completion of the design and winning of planning approval, construction is planned to start in 2021.
Commenting on the investment Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This new funding will build on our commitment to cut emissions across heavy industry, create green collar jobs on Merseyside and help us to build back greener.”
Dave Dalton, CEO of British Glass said “This is proof of what can happen when Government and industry work together on common goals. I am incredibly proud of the steps the sector has made over the past decades and excited for the high-tech, decarbonised circular economy ahead.”
Glass Futures’ Director, Richard Katz, added: “The state-of-the-art facility will enable Glass Futures and its members to work collaboratively to research and develop innovative solutions enhancing resource efficiency, moving the industry closer to sustainable low-carbon glass production and increasing productivity.