Glass Futures, the initiative partnered with British Glass, has received a welcome boost with the University of Cambridge joining the consortium.
The collaboration between industry and academia looks to increase productivity and sustainability and reduce carbon emissions in the glass industry.
Cambridge joins Leeds and Sheffield Hallam universities in Glass Futures, which also includes industry partners such as Pilkington UK, Swarovski, O-I, Siemens, Encirc and Guardian Industries.
British Glass CEO and Principal Coordinator of Glass Futures Dave Dalton said: “We are delighted to have the expertise of our colleagues at Cambridge on board. They will bring the best of their knowledge and innovation to aid the drive of Glass Futures.”
Glass Futures Founding Director Richard Katz added: “The addition of the University of Cambridge will bring additional strength to our future plans, complementing the research expertise of our existing academic partners in Leeds and Sheffield.
“By harnessing the best of industry and academia and investing in research and development we really can help the industry grow and bring major benefits to the UK economy.”
Glass Futures is currently aiming to build two centres of excellence, with one site at Pilkington UK in St Helens and another at the University of Leeds, both focusing on research and development.
Dr Mauro Overend, leader of Cambridge University’s Glass and Façade Technology Research Group said: “The great thing about Glass Futures is that it fuses together expertise from across the world to translate research ideas into real solutions for the problems of the future.
“For example, we are looking forward to working with the University of Leeds which is researching smart coatings for glass to make it stronger.
“Our collaboration could lead to glass being used much more effectively in the construction of large buildings in the future thus reducing the cost and energy required to construct and operate buildings.”
Professor Animesh Jha, the lead academic from the University of Leeds, added: “Bringing together researchers across multiple universities and industry is a significant benefit of Glass Futures, so we look forward to collaborating with Cambridge’s engineers and sharing expertise which will ultimately support the growth of the sector across the country.”
Current plans are for the Leeds site to focus on research in the ‘cold’ side of the manufacturing process, including coatings, structure and medicinal glass.
The St Helens centre will concentrate on the ‘hot’ side of glass production and will feature with an experimental glass furnace as well as looking into reducing carbon emissions by 80% through research in raw materials and alternative energy sources.
Other Glass Futures members are: glass plant engineers and contractors Tecoglas; the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London; the Society of Glass Technology;, and Glass Technology Services. Other universities, including Liverpool, Nottingham and Swansea, also bring their expert knowledge to the project.