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‘World first’ as hydrogen used to manufacture glass

In what’s being hailed as a world first, hydrogen has been used in the manufacture of sheet glass.

Results of a trial project in the Liverpool City region of England have been released a week after the UK government unveiled its Hydrogen Strategy.

Glassmaker Pilkington replaced natural gas with hydrogen at its factory in St Helens to manufacture sheet glass, also known as float glass.

The HyNet Industrial Fuel Switching project was led by Progressive Energy, with hydrogen being provided by BOC, as was designed to provide confidence that low carbon hydrogen can replace natural gas.

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Pilkington’s UK managing director Matt Buckley said the HyNet project “will be a massive step to support our decarbonisation activities”.

“This full-scale production trial over several weeks successfully demonstrated that it is possible to use hydrogen to safely and effectively fire a float glass plant. We now look forward to the HyNet concept becoming a reality.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said: “Just as we led the first industrial revolution, our region is leading the green one too.

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“HyNet has the potential to be a transformative project for our region, cutting carbon emissions across the North West by 25% and helping us take big a step towards our climate targets.”

David Parkin, Director of Progressive Energy and Project Director of HyNet North West, added that “industry is vital for the economy, but is difficult to decarbonise.  HyNet is focused on removing carbon from industry through a range of technologies including the capturing and locking up of carbon and the production and use of hydrogen as a low carbon fuel.”

He added that he believed this switch to green power could create “over 6000 new, permanent jobs, setting the region on course to be the world leader in clean energy innovation”.

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Kelvin Ross
Kelvin Ross is Editor-in-Chief of Enlit Europe and Power Engineering International. A journalist for more than 30 years, he has worked on regional, national and international newspapers, as well as trade magazines serving sectors including insurance, shipping, health and financial markets. He has covered the energy sector for more than 10 years. He helped establish Energy Live News in the UK before joining PEi and he has been ranked among the top 100 global influencers on Twitter for 'renewable energy' and 'smart grid' topics.