Ardagh Glass Packaging launched their NextGen Furnace for low-carbon glass manufacturing
Consumers increasingly consider the environmental impact and circularity of the products they buy. As a result, brands are facing pressure to adopt sustainable practices throughout their supply chains. The choice of packaging plays a pivotal role in shaping a brand’s environmental footprint, which is why the glass packaging industry is investing in decarbonisation as a key imperative in the pursuit of sustainable packaging solutions. There are a variety of pathways possible and one significant leap forward comes from the Ardagh Group.
In November 2023 Ardagh Glass Packaging (AGP) welcomed customers, suppliers, policy makers, industry partners and media to an official opening of its new NextGen Furnace in Obernkirchen, Germany, to see some of the first amber bottles being produced from the low-carbon technology.
The NextGen Furnace started up as a conventional furnace using 20% renewable electricity and 80% gas. It is currently operating at 50% electrical melting and is progressing through a planned start-up sequence in switching to a target of 80% renewable electricity and 20% gas to deliver maximum energy efficiency and decarbonisation.
Jens Schaefer, Operations Director, AGP-Germany, commented: “We are delighted with the start-up performance of the NextGen Furnace. To see the first amber coloured bottles coming off the line has been a proud moment for the team.”
To coincide with production of the first amber bottles, a recent independently verified Life Cycle Analysis has indicated that, once the NextGen Furnace is operating at 80% renewable electricity and 20% gas, there will be a 69%* reduction in CO2 from a typical 330ml glass bottle produced in the new furnace, compared with one produced in a conventional AGP furnace.
Martin Petersson, CEO AGP-Europe, and FEVE President said: “This is an incredible breakthrough for the glass industry. The potential to produce a glass bottle with a 69% reduction in CO2 is a significant step towards decarbonising the glass manufacturing process. Throughout this project, AGP has worked closely with SORG, our chosen furnace supplier. We appreciate their expertise in helping us to reach this important milestone and we will continue to work together throughout the next operational stages.”
Fundamental to this project progressing in the initial stages, was grant support provided by BMWK  and KEI to qualifying energy-intensive industries in Germany.
Ardagh’s NextGen Furnace is part of the glass industry’s joint Furnaces for the Future (F4F) vision, which represents our industry’s ambition to make glass packaging carbon neutral. Discover more industry initiatives and success stories on decarbonisation as glass container manufacturers across Europe explore various possible paths to decarbonisation, such as renewable energy biomass, hydrogen and electrification.
*The 2023 Life Cycle Analysis demonstrates the carbon savings per glass bottle to be produced in the NextGen Furnace, compared to a bottle from a conventional AGP furnace. A typical 330ml glass bottle produced in the conventional AGP furnace at Obernkirchen produces 140.1g of CO2, compared with one to be produced in the NextGen Furnace once fully operational at 80% renewable electricity and 20% gas, which will produce 43g of CO2: a 69% reduction across Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Depending on the production mix, the NextGen Furnace could save up to 45,000 tonnes of carbon every year, compared to a conventional furnace.
A part of Ardagh Group, Ardagh Glass Packaging (AGP) is a global supplier of recyclable glass packaging for brand owners in the beverage, food, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. Ardagh Glass Packaging operates 39 production facilities in North America, Europe and Africa and employs approximately 14,000 people.
 Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action) and KEI: Klimaschutz in Energieintensiven Industrien (Climate Protection in Energy-Intensive Industries