Four glass manufacturing facilities will begin full-scale hydrogen trials shortly.

The first will be Slovenia’s Steklarna Hrastnik followed by Owens Corning in France, then Zignago Vetro and Vetrobalsamo, both based in Italy.

The trials are part of the H2GLASS project which will will begin full-scale hydrogen trials at five plants from 2025.

The collaborative project, which brings together glass manufacturers with industrial and research institutions, aims to decarbonise glass manufacturing.

The endeavour is part of the Horizon Europe programme, which started in January 2023.

The project will see the transition from natural gas to green hydrogen combustion in production facilities, potentially achieving an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions.

However, this transformation comes with various challenges, including securing a reliable hydrogen supply for the H2GLASS on-site demonstrations, mitigating NOx emissions, and managing high flame propagation speed all while maintaining product quality and ensuring safety.

At the core of this effort lies the implementation of Digital Twin techniques to improve the efficiency and reliability of the glass manufacturing process.

The project has made considerable progress by identifying technical requirements and developing test plans for the industrial demonstrators, supported by a robust safety plan to ensure safe testing.

However, the most important milestone achieved is the successful procurement of the electrolyser for the full-scale trials from a reliable European supplier.

This achievement is of utmost importance as the integration of hydrogen as a substitute for primary fuel is a major challenge in today's market due to its limited availability.

This means the project can proceed with the permitting process and the design and procurement of equipment for the full-scale trials at the five plants scheduled to start in 2025.

The remaining plant will be an aluminium smelting facility in Norway run by Hydro.