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European Climate Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article16 March 2022European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency

How LIFE is reducing emissions from glass production 

Two consecutive LIFE projects have improved the energy efficiency of the glass-melting process. 

Glass

Glass is in everything from tableware and windows to smartphone flat screens. Demand is rising due to population and infrastructure growth. However, glass is made in furnaces at extremely high temperatures. Producing it causes 22 million tonnes of CO2 in Europe and 95 million tonnes worldwide each year. 

Sand and energy are required to make glass. Energy has traditionally been provided by burning natural gas with air to reach a temperature that transforms sand into hot glass ready to be moulded. However, the process is energy-intensive and polluting. 

To solve this problem, LIFE Eco-HeatOx and a follow-on project, LIFE CleanOx, developed and improved a technology that preheats pure oxygen and natural gas. Using pure oxygen improves the overall energy efficiency of the glass-melting process.  

The project team assessed the technology in a tableware making factory in Targovishte, Bulgaria. Results from LIFE Eco-HeatOx show a 6 to 9% energy saving compared to previous combustion methods. Also, CO2 emissions were down by 23% and Nitric Oxide (NOx) by 90%.  

Both LIFE Eco-HeatOx and LIFE CleanOx support the EU's Clean Energy Package for all Europeans. They also contribute to the EU's long-term strategy of achievingcarbon neutrality by 2050

For years, the LIFE programme has addressed the challenges and negative impacts of the EU's current energy mix and technologies. Find out more in our LIFE programme and energy factsheet

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