News & views > Greener Glass: Industry-University’s blast furnace development shows promising results

5 September 2023


Greener Glass: Industry-University’s blast furnace development shows promising results

Ciner Glass is proud to have partnered with the Steel and Metals Institute (SaMI) at Swansea University, along with Tata Steel, on research into ways to minimise industrial waste and improve the efficiency of glass production.

In this article, Dr. Barrie Goode, Operation Director at SaMI with over 20 years of experience in the steel and metals industry, discusses the importance of collaboration and embracing innovation to help industry reduce its environmental impact.

Can you tell us about the work of the Steel & Metals Institute?

SaMI aims to create unique research partnerships with UK steel and metals producers, suppliers and end-users. Our research partnership is focused on collaborative working, physically bringing together a network of academic specialists and industrial innovators.

In so doing, we support the steel and metals industry in the challenge to decarbonise through lower carbon products and processes, reduced emissions, and creation of a circular economy.

Why is collaboration in this field so important?

Collaborative efforts among local stakeholders within industry and supply chains are vital for establishing a robust circular economy framework.

We believe that through collaboration, adopting innovative technologies, optimising processes, and prioritising circularity, we can pave the way for a greener future.

What made you want to partner with Ciner Glass?

Across the university sector in Wales, we are all excited at Ciner Glass’ plans to build a glass bottle manufacturing facility in Blaenau Gwent. The project promises to support both the local and national economy, bringing employment and supply chain opportunities for years to come.

With a proud industrial heritage, manufacturing plays a vital part in supporting the regional economy in South Wales, but in the modern day we need to ensure we are taking every step that we can to reduce the level of emissions in industry.

As Ciner Glass looks to join the industrial landscape in South Wales, we were pleased to see the company shares our ambition around decarbonisation. We were therefore keen to explore opportunities to achieve this by supporting the company with product and process development.

Tell us more about your project with Ciner Glass.

We have been in conversation with Ciner Glass over the past year on how we can support them with product and process development and decarbonisation.

We are focused on researching sustainable solutions for the steel industry, which includes using waste material of recycled products that already exist within the supply chain to help contribute towards a circular economy. We were therefore keen to develop this research with Ciner Glass.

We made a £30,000 investment as part of our research, purchasing a furnace which is capable of high temperature melting of glass and materials such as Calumite – a waste product from heavy steel industry which can offer energy saving and environmental benefits to glass producers.

SaMI has melted this material in the new furnace with very encouraging results in terms of producing a glass from a waste industrial product. We aim to expand this research with the support of Ciner Glass to optimise the way in which these products are produced to develop a quality glass whilst supporting the circular economy.

Where do you hope to take this partnership in the future?

We are committed to supporting Ciner Glass and hope to cultivate and develop our collaboration in the years ahead, ensuring that once built, the plant continues to adopt the latest technologies to produce a high-quality product through sustainable methods.

With a focus on resource efficiency and closing the loop wherever possible, we can simultaneously help the steel industry minimise its impact on natural resources, conserve energy, decrease waste generation and thereby reduce its overall environmental impact.