Briquetting of recycled glass fines for energy and CO2 reduction in the glass industry

Lead Research Organisation: Sheffield Hallam University
Department Name: Faculty of Arts Computing Eng and Sci

Abstract

The global glass manufacturing sector uses 140 - 220 Terawatt-hours of energy and emits 50-60 million tonnes of CO2 per
year. Manufacturing inefficiencies are such that, without intervention and increased product demand, global CO2
emissions from glass making are forecast to increase by 20% by 2019. In the UK alone the glass industry produces over 3
million tonnes of glass per year, using 4.5 Terawatt-hours of energy (1.4 Megawatt-hour per tonne of glass melted), and
emits 2 million tonnes of CO2. The energy required for melting glass in a furnace accounts for 75% of the energy
consumption. Melting furnaces typically have 50-60% efficiency, however, the introduction of recycled glass (cullet)
significantly reduces glass melting energy requirements and CO2 emissions. The availability of quality cullet is an industrywide
challenge - 20% is rejected every year and sent to landfill.
We are proposing a feasibility study for a novel briquetting process that will turn rejected cullet (fines) into valuable waste
material re-introduced into glass manufacture. The proposed technology has potential to (i) reduce the glass industry's CO2
emissions by up to 8%; (ii) Secure the long term UK & global supply of cullet and (iii) reduce the industry's energy costs by
4-8%. This application is for a lab based project utilising a test briquetting line, with laboratory scale glass melting and testing equipment. The project feasibility steps will be as follows: (1) exploration of the materials and binders required to
achieve optimum speed and efficiency of glass raw materials melting in the furnace; (2) determining the physical, chemical
and dimensional requirements of the briquettes for manufacturing and processing purposes, and how the briquetting line
needs to be designed to accommodate these; (3) lab scale glass melting trials to determine the effect of the briquettes in
the furnace; (4) characterisation and analysis of the resulting samples to understand the impact of the consolidated cullet
and binding materials on the quality of glass produced vis-a-vis energy consumption; (5) energy and cost savings analysis
to determine the environmental and cost implications of each briquette permutation; and (6) Dissemination of findings.

Planned Impact

This project will test the feasibility of developing a glass fines briquetting technology to turn waste material (rejected cullet
fines) into a valuable raw material that can be successfully reintroduced into glass manufacture, to achieve significant
reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The tasks and outputs are listed below with pathways for
dissemination:
1. Optimum Composition of the Briquettes - Recycling Waste into Energy Efficient Raw Material: The partners will undertake
testing processes to assess the feasibility of briquetting of the waste cullet fines, to provide engineering and scientific
benchmarking for the new technology. A critical aspect of this will be to test various options for the composition and
characterisation of the binding material to enhance physical and chemical properties of the resulting briquettes, and to
enhance glass melting behaviour.
Outcomes and Dissemination: The outputs of this process will feed directly into a set of technology recommendations for
production and scale up of a prototype technology. The proven hypothesis will be used to inform this next stage, and to
educate and engage the 10 major UK glass manufacturers in the latter stages of technology development. It is hoped that
the findings will enable us to secure strategic partnerships with 2-3 of these companies, to develop in-factory platforms for
the demonstrator technology, so the briquettes can be tested in-process across a range of glass quality compositions and
applications. SHU will be responsible for publishing a minimum of 2 research papers from the materials composition and
testing process. These will be published and disseminated through academic and industrial publications, and at technology
related events UK and internationally. The partners already have working relationships with the 4 market leading glass
manufacturers in Europe, and will commence discussions with each of them to educate and engage them in the proposed
technology. As part of the feasibility exercise SHU will identify applications beyond the glass sector, to include ceramics,
metals and food manufacturing.

Publications

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Deng W (2019) Melting behavior of waste glass cullet briquettes in soda-lime-silica container glass batch in International Journal of Applied Glass Science

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Deng W (2018) Briquetting of waste glass cullet fine particles for energy saving glass manufacture in Glass Technology: European Journal of Glass Science and Technology Part A

 
Description Methods of briquetting of glass fines, and an understanding has been developed regarding the limitations of adding briquetted glass fines into green glass melts; and on the impact of this on glass melting behaviour, times, energies and redox, that will support future large-scale trials. Successful addition of up to 20% briquettes into glass melts has been undertaken, and results confirm that melting rates are enhanced, with no measured deterioration in glass quality. Consequently we have developed an understanding of the behaviour of briquetted glass fines in glass making, and demonstrated the feasibility (at lab scale) of this approach for energy and resource saving glass manufacture. This has helped influence policy makers and funding bodies (UK Govt., BEIS, IUK), who are now supporting - with funding - decarbonisation of Foundation Industries (including the glass industry).
Exploitation Route Results are informing Wright Engineering's development of their briquetting technology, and informing future planned large scale melting trials with Ardagh Group. We are currently in discussions with both parties with the aim of developing a funding bid to support pilot-scale and, ultimately, full-scale trials of this technology, however, these discussions have stalled due to commercial factors outside our control or influence. Yet, with multiple BEIS and IUK funded schemes becoming available in the Foundation Industry decarbonisation sphere, it is hoped that further development may be stimulated with these partners.
Sectors Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description The briquetted glass fines being studied are providing an energy-efficient manufacturing route for glassmaking, our results to date are informing Wright Engineering's process technology development and future planned trials with Ardagh Group. Although this work has yet to be taken forward into later-stage development and implementation at commercial scale (due to a commercial decision outside the control or influence of SHU), the research has had an impact on both UK Government policy and through UK funding bodies BEIS and IUK. Through the PI's and SHU's involvement in Glass Futures, this research has contributed to many discussions and debates with Local and National Government regarding decarbonisation of Foundation Industries including glass, and has helped bring the need to support these industries to decarbonise to national attention. This is now being realised through significant funding release from Government through BEIS (Industrial Fuel Switching Phases 2 and 3) and targeted Calls through IUK, and with Glass Futures successfully securing some of this funding, this is evidence for this research having contributed to the debate and helping influence Government. Public engagement activities have widened an appreciation of glass and its environmental impact, and of the methods we are developing to help combat and reduce this. Further evidence of impact in 2020-21 arose through Ardagh's triple success in winning Innovation Awards (UK and EU) for the briquetting technology development in which we have been closely involved.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Chemicals,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description EPSRC TFI Network+ Scientific Advisory Board Member
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://tfinetworkplus.org/
 
Description Engagement with EPSRC TFI Network+, 2020-21
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Engagement with UK Government, BEIS, IUK, KTNs to support Foundation Industry Decarbonisation
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact This engagement with multiple Government departments, BEIS, IUK, KTNs has resulted in Government support for decarbonising the Foundation Industries through targeted BEIS and IUK funding Calls which have been designed following multiple consultations and discussions. Our research, and involvement in Glass Futures, has helped enable this change in the funding landscape to directly support decarbonisation of glass and other Foundation Industries.
 
Description Undergraduate teaching / Postgraduate learning engagement
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The science developed during this project has influenced undergraduate teaching for Materials Engineering students at SHU, being incorporated into the module "Engineering Ceramics and Polymers" as an exemplar. Postgraduate (PhD student) training and research development of students in the PI's research group has been influenced and enhanced by the technologies and approaches developed during this project.
 
Description Optimising biomass ash to reduce the environmental impact of glass manufacture (EnviroGlass 2)
Amount £494,383 (GBP)
Funding ID 104382 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2018 
End 11/2020
 
Description Collaborations with Glass Technology Services Ltd 
Organisation Glass Technology Services
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Close collaborations in glass technology and science - sharing of knowledge and expertise and writing joint funding bids and joint publications. Engagement with UK glass industry.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of glass technology expertise, preparing joint funding bids and publications, provision of guidance and input.
Impact Joint funding bids and joint publications. Engagement with UK foundation industries and glass industry; Glass Futures and UK Government.
Start Year 2016
 
Description New industrial collaboration with Ardagh Glass 
Organisation Ardagh Group
Country Luxembourg 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Sharing of knowledge, samples and expertise in glass melting
Collaborator Contribution Supply of raw materials, input data, furnace information and wider industry know-how
Impact Ardagh has entered, and won, 3 innovation awards for the briquetting technology in 2020/2021, including: https://www.ardaghgroup.com/news-centre/ardaghs-recycled-glass-briquettes-win https://www.ardaghgroup.com/news-centre/triple-win-for-ardagh-briquette-project
Start Year 2016
 
Title New briquetting technology and materials for recycling glass fines 
Description The project has developed the materials and process parameters necessary to enable reproducible briquetting of recycled glass fines, enabling them to be reintroduced into the glass melting process, saving large amounts of energy and thus reducing CO2 emissions. The new technology has enabled the industrial partner, Wright Engineering, to develop their briquetting technology closer to market. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact The new technology is capable of enabling step-changes in glass recycling levels, and also in reducing glass melting energies and CO2 emissions. Impact has been initiated by journal publications (2), conference presentations (2) and undergraduate / postgraduate training. Further impact is expected as the technology is moved into the marketplace by the industrial partner. 
 
Description Annual Ravenscroft Lecture - Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This highly prestigious annual invited Ravenscroft Lecture was delivered in London on 19/02/2020 to an audience of Glass Sellers and other Livery Company members, who represent a very wide cross section of the ancient trades and crafts, from many walks of life. The presentation was on the ubiquity of glass and the need to decarbonise the glass industry, with specific examples from the research carried out under the associated grants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description House of Lords Reception, Glass Futures 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The event was a House of Lords reception, hosted by Lord Prior of Brampton, to engage the UK Government and its Departments with Glass Futures and its aims to decarbonise and stimulate the UK glass industry. The event was attended by senior politicians, including Richard Harrington MP, Under Secretary of State, BEIS - Speaker, and several other MP's. It was a great success and here the Briquetting project and its outcomes was used as an exemplar during discussions with senior politicians and policy makers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Meeting with BEIS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The activity was a meeting with Gareth Davies, the then Director General of BEIS, with our Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sir Chris Husbands, to discuss decarbonisation research and the research carried out in this project was used as an exemplar to influence Government policy on decarbonising the Foundation Industries including the glass industry.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Public lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This inaugural public lecture was delivered on the broad topic of glass, but with key aspects including the environment and these projects and their research outcomes and objectives, fed-into the lecture, with exemplars from it, to engage the public with the need for the glass industry to decarbonise and develop new methods and materials.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description SMEA Lecture, February 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This invited SMEA (Sheffield Metallurgical and Engineering Association) Lecture was delivered online on 15/02/2020 to an audience of practitioners, industry and academia, students, interested public and others. The presentation was on the ubiquity of glass and the need to decarbonise the glass industry, with specific examples from the research carried out under the associated grants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description U3AS&T Lecture, 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact This invited U3A S&T Lecture was delivered online on 08/02/2021 to an audience of retired academics and the general public members, who represent public and professionals from many walks of life. The presentation was on the ubiquity of glass and the need to decarbonise the glass industry, with specific examples from the research carried out under the associated grants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021