H2GLASS: Advancing Hydrogen (H2) technologies and smart production systems to decarbonise the glass and aluminium sectors
Funding: Horizon Europe
Duration: January 2023 – January 2027
Team: Samanta Piano, Luke Todhunter.
Partners: THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM (United Kingdom), SINTEF (Norway), STAM (Italy), STEINBEIS INNOVATION GGMBH (Germany), WE PLUS SPA (Italy), NORGES TEKNISK-NATURVITENKSKAPELIGE UNIVERSITET NTNU (Norway), STARA GLASS SPA (Italy), SEKLARNA HRASTNIK DOO (Slovenia), KEMIJSKI INSTITUT (Slovenia), FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG EV (Germany), ASTON UNIVERSITY (United Kingdom), UNIVERSITAT POLITECNICA DE CATALUNYA (Spain), EUROPEAN ALUMINIUM (Belgium), STAZIONE SPERIMENTALE DEL VETRO SCPA (Italy), VETROBALSAMO SPA (Italy), OCV CHAMBERY INTERNATIONAL (France), ZIGNAGO VETRO SPA (Italy), SENER INGENIERIA Y SISTEMA SA (Spain), CIB UNIGAS (Italy), HYDRO HAVRAND (Norway), PTML PILKINGTON (United Kingdom).
The glass industry will have to be completely decarbonised in the next 30 years. The lifetime of a glass furnace is about 12-15 years, so it is urgent to start innovating because the year 2050 is only 2 furnaces away. H2GLASS aims to create the technology stack that glass manufacturers need to (a) realise 100% H2 combustion in their production facilities, (b) ensure the required product quality, and (c) manage this safely. H2GLASS will address the challenges related to NOx emissions and high flame propagation speed, process efficiency, and supply of H2 for on-site demonstrations. Digital Twin techniques will be critical for risk-based predictive maintenance, optimised production control, and combustion system control. H2 will be supplied by a portable electrolyser co-funded by the industrial demonstrators, and the oxygen produced will be reused in the process. The H2GLASS technologies and design solutions will be validated up to TRL 7 on 5 industrial demonstrators from 3 segments (container glass, flat glass and glass fibre), which together represent 98% of the current glass production in the EU. The expertise of partners such as SH, PTML, OCV and SG representing the State Of The Art (SOTA) in the use of H2 in the glass process will be an asset for the H2GLASS Consortium. A demonstrator for the aluminium industry (HYDRO) will prove the transferability of the basic solutions and underlying models to energy-intensive industries that have similarities with the glass manufacturing process, thus strengthening the impact of the project. In EU the Glass and Aluminium industries employ >400.000 people in Europe, generate > 3.5B€ and emit ca.21.5 Mt CO2e. The innovations generated by H2GLASS will potentially create 10.000 new jobs and unlock 1 - 5B€ revenues for glass technology deployment, >17B investments and 200.000 new jobs for green H2, and cut emissions by ca.80%.
An assessment on the impacts of H2 technologies and integration of H2 within the glass manufacturing sector will be performed, focusing on three key areas. First, the thermodynamic behaviour of the H2 mix and its effect in the downstream processes will be evaluated. This includes definition and characterisation of the relevant chemical systems and their inter-species interaction (SINTEF ER). Second, assessment of the furnace process conditions will be performed (hot side) (STAM). This will include investigation into the impact of H2 mixing on furnace temperature characteristics, such as spatial distribution, by analysing the outputs of thermal imaging and other furnace sensors developed. This will include the installation of UV camera systems (UNOTT) for the visualisation of H2 flames to measure energy input and efficiency and enable the testing of cooling systems and camera protection in a furnace environment. Third, assessment of the glass product quality will be performed (cold side) (UNOTT). This will include analysis of use case part form and surface texture, identifying defects, such as internal bubbles and glass distortions, and developing prediction models to relate defect production with H2 technologies. The latter two aspects will require physics-based models, enhancing the data obtained using information rich metrology (IRM) techniques.