Metro Mayor offers £9m towards £54m glass project

Glass Futures will be based in St Helens, the UK traditional home of glassmaking, and will aim to completely eliminate carbon emissions from glass manufacturing. Tony McDonough reports

Glass, building, architecture
Glass Futures aims to revolutionise and decarbonise glass manufacturing

 

A £54m Merseyside-based world-class centre for excellence that will aim to eliminate carbon emissions from glass manufacturing has moved a step closer.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and St Helens Council are investing more than £9m in to the Glass Futures project which will be based in St Helens, the UK traditional home of glassmaking.

Glass Futures will be an industry backed research and technology organisation leading collaboration across some of the largest companies in the global glass industry and its supply chain, together with academia and government.

Last week, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram identified the project as one of the key drivers of his £8bn Building Back Better strategy that will help Merseyside recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

It will bring together researchers and industry experts, such as British Glass and Glass Technology Institute; O-I Glass; Guardian Glass; and Siemens, together at a hot glass site.

Glass manufacturing is responsible for 2m tonnes of CO2 per year in the UK alone and the 90,000 square foot facility will be centred around a 30-tonne/day low carbon demonstration furnace.

It will create the world’s first openly accessible, commercially available, multi-disciplinary glass melting facility with provision for research and development trials to decarbonise the UK glass industry.

The Combined Authority is to give Glass Futures £9m from its Strategic Investment Fund while St Helens Council will chip in with a further £900,000 to help to develop the idea from a concept to a reality. The authority is also exploring other ways of supporting the development by taking a lease on the building which would be on land next to St Helens RFC’s Totally Wicked Stadium.

Steve Rotheram said: “This project is a prime example of how we can build on our strengths as a city region to drive our economic recovery. St Helens has always been a global leader in the glass industry and Glass Futures will be a key part of making sure it retains that role in the future of the industry as it decarbonises, whilst being a key driver for jobs and skills.

“Taking Glass Futures forward is a prime example of the kind of partnership that the Combined Authority, our local authorities, the private sector, and academia can forge to create world class facilities in our city region.”

St Helens Council leader, David Baines, added: “Glass Futures is all about innovation and looking to the future, and we want our borough to be at the very heart of this exciting project.”

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