It’s crunch time for the glass industry. Renewable sources and sustainable processes are the only way forward if we’re to turn the energy-intensive production of glass into an environmentally-friendly material of choice for the future.
Glass is 100% recyclable, but the power required and emissions produced are creating an almost impossible challenge for manufacturers worldwide. Especially when facing increasingly strict limits on air pollutants and emission trading, of which classical combustion technology is the enemy. And especially in light of the Paris Climate Accord, which demands a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. Compliance will be essential for staying competitive and ensuring future economic growth.
Many different innovations have been considered to provide a sustainable energy supply, including electricity and alternative fuels like hydrogen, oxygen and biodiesel. All are currently being trialled and tested, but in general these energies do not provide enough power and stability to operate a furnace and keep temperatures constant, to ensure the sustained high quality of the finished products.
SORG introduced the all-electric VSM® furnace 50 years ago and has provided electric boosters for over 500 fossil-fired furnaces worldwide. Always thinking ahead and investing in cleaner technologies to tackle climate change, we continually aim to optimise productivity and reduce emissions.
Although it’s better than fossil fuel, electric melting has certain limitations, such as in the possible meter size and pull. Requiring an even layer of batch to be spread across the whole surface of the melt, all-electric furnaces have a size limit of around 200 metric tonnes per day.
Reducing and neutral glasses are difficult to produce with all-electric furnaces today. Also the all-electric furnace is more sensible regarding pull changes and variances in raw materials compared to fossil heated furnaces.Besides electricity being more expensive than natural gas – up to now – in most parts of the world and therefore uneconomical for standard glasses, a lower melting capacity means that a single all-electric furnace might only supply one or two production machines.
Combining the best of both technologies
Having patented the world’s first hybrid furnace to support larger applications and to overcome the limits mentioned above, we are getting much closer to safeguarding the future for everyone to benefit from carbon neutral energy.
The CLEAN Melter® is the result of a combination of our extensive practical experiences in furnace design and the proven mathematic modelling carried out by SORG’s in‑house experts.
With the best of both electric and combustion technologies, the CLEAN Melter® can increase its electric share to as much as 80%, leaving 20% fossil fuel to take over and recharge the electric capacity.
This results in much lower energy consumption and carbon emissions, while also offering huge cost savings and greater flexibility in terms of pull variations, raw materials and raw material changes – all without affecting glass quality. The furnace’s refining shelf stabilizes the melting process, with the increased glass temperature above reducing viscosity and releasing all blisters on the surface. With decades of refining shelf experience, SORG knows that without it, the required quality of glass is not achievable.
Heated by air/gas firing or oxygen/gas firing, replacing gas with green hydrogen is also possible for zero carbon emissions. Better still, depending on your locality, the CLEAN Melter® can even start as a conventional combustion furnace with electric boosting and be converted later without any further modifications.
The right time, the right partner
SORG has an unrivalled knowledge of electric and hybrid melting. We have a vision to give the glass industry greater sustainability. And we also have the technology now in place, ready to make it a reality.
Supported by a ‘Value by design’ ethos, our three combined companies deliver a unique range of products and services. With entire teams dedicated to electric and hybrid melting, we support customers at every stage. From the supply and storage of raw materials through to conditioned glass and cullet return systems, as well as expert maintenance and a dedicated after-sales service, our tailor-made sustainable solutions provide the lowest total cost of ownership.
For a more sustainable way of melting glass, look no further than the powerful new CLEAN Melter® from SORG. The thinking behind this revolutionary hybrid concept is really simple – because both our own future and that of our planet, depend on it.
Discover the power of change today – get in touch.