Industrial energy use and decarbonisation in the glass sector: A UK perspective

Paul Griffin, Geoffrey Hammond, Russell McKenna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The potential for reducing industrial energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the UK glass sector has been evaluated, although the lessons learned are applicable across much of the industrialised world. It encompasses a range of product outputs, including flat glass (for glazing in the construction and automotive industries), container glass (bottles and jars), domestic glassware, fibreglass, and scientific hollow glass. Glass processing is a moderately energy-intensive industrial sector, and its GHG emissions are relatively low (~3% of those emanating from UK industry as a whole). This technology assessment was conducted within the context of the historical development of the glass sector, as well as its contemporary industrial structure. Currently available technologies will lead to short-term energy and GHG emissions savings in the sector, but the prospects for the commercial exploitation of innovative technologies by mid-21st century is speculative. Glass is potentially 100% recyclable, and could therefore contribute to UK ‘circular economy’ or resource efficiency aspirations. Finally, a set of low-carbon UK technology roadmaps for the glass sector out to 2050 has been developed and evaluated, based on various alternative scenarios and the techno-economic characterisation of improvement potentials. These roadmaps help identify the steps needed to be undertaken by industrialists, policy makers and other stakeholders in order to facilitate decarbonisation of the UK glass sector.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100037
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Applied Energy
Volume3
Early online date29 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2021

Keywords

  • Glass sector
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Decarbonisation options
  • Circular thinking
  • Technology roadmaps or transition pathways
  • United Kingdom

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