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Italy’s ‘Divina’ pilot marks a new breed of hydrogen-powered glass furnaces

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Italy’s ‘Divina’ pilot marks a new breed of hydrogen-powered glass furnaces

If you’re a brand, how can you reduce the carbon footprint of your packaging? Reducing carbon emissions in production  to match what consumers have come to expect plays a significant role – and it’s a shared challenge, for brands, manufacturers and even whole industries. 

Hydrogen is one pathway to climate neutrality, and it’s set to play a key role in decarbonising energy-intensive sectors such as glass production to meet new climate targets and deliver on the expectations of our customers. That’s why an Italian working group headed by SnamRINA and Bormioli is set to test the use of hydrogen to power melting furnaces in glassworks through the ‘Divina’ pilot project.  

The ‘Divina’ project (shorthand for Decarbonisation of the Glass Industry: Hydrogen and New Equipment) aims to reduce emissions in the glass melting stage, which accounts for more than half of total energy consumption throughout the production process. Divina brings together leading players in glass, energy and academia to forge a path to green transition and sustainability. 

Today, the main energy source used by glassworks is natural gas and CO2 emissions amount to around 1,500,000 tonnes per year – or around 3.5% of the emissions of the entire manufacturing industry.  Nationwide use of a 30% hydrogen blend in glass melting processes would already reduce emissions by 200,000 tonnes – equivalent to the emissions of around 100,000 cars in Italy alone. 

The potential to reduce the climate footprint of glass packaging is vast: with over 5 million tonnes produced per year, Italy is the second largest glass producer in Europe. By testing significant quantities of hydrogen on operational furnaces, the industry can evaluate whether hydrogen combustion is compatible with glass material in real industrial production contexts, following appropriate testing in laboratories. The project will also define and subsequently optimise the design rules for future furnaces – so-called ‘Furnaces 4.0’ – which can guarantee the best performance even with higher hydrogen percentages up to 100%.

One step closer to carbon neutral glass packaging – cheers to that!

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