Hrastnik1860 achieves technological advancement in hydrogen utilization within the glass industry
We successfully conducted industrial production of premium glass bottles using hydrogen as an prime energy source, marking the first commercial use of hydrogen in the glass packaging industry. With over 60% hydrogen fuel content used for glass melting, HRASTNIK1860 has reduced the direct carbon footprint of the melting process by more than 30% compared to standard procedures.
Through this successful industrial run with hydrogen, we strengthened our position as a leading European manufacturer of premium glass packaging, while pioneering and, thus, facilitating environmentally conscious transformation within the glass industry.
This accomplishment marks a significant milestone in the utilization of hydrogen, tackling the challenges hindering economically viable production of high-quality glass when relying heavily on hydrogen as an energy source.
Hrastnik1860 has adeptly navigated these challenges through its own R&D work, affirming that the substitution of non-renewable natural gas is not only viable but also in accordance with prevailing quality standards.
Tilen Sever, Director of Development, Technology, and Innovation
Increasing the hydrogen content in the mixture with natural gas beyond 50% significantly affects the combustion characteristics. Nevertheless, we have effectively employed hydrogen on individual burners up to 100%, while reaching an average utilization of 62% during the melting process. The combustion efficiency with hydrogen was comparable to that of natural gas firing. Crucially, the use of hydrogen had no significant impact on the refinement and discoloration of the glass, enabling us to maintain product quality within established technological limits.
Matevž Fazarinc, Executive Director of HRASTNIK1860
Reducing the carbon footprint has long been one of our key strategic objectives. Preceding the introduction of hydrogen, we undertook various measures, such as increasing the share of electricity used for melting to reduce the natural gas consumption, including significant shares of electricity from our own renewables production. Now, with the incorporation of hydrogen, we aim to showcase our commitment to introducing viable alternatives in production processes, thereby reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
Peter Čas, CEO, HRASTNIK1860 and Vaider Group
We are absolutely on the right path, rightfully among the leading producers of premium glass packaging, which is not only exceptionally high-quality and aesthetically refined but also the most sustainable. This market position is by no means given to us; we earned it through strategically planned and successfully executed transformation of the company, targeted and extensive investment cycles, hard team work, and daring innovation. As a result of these efforts, we can now proudly present the best practices of sustainable production, pushing boundaries in the entire industry, and thereby setting new trends. These are excellent foundations for the continued successful development of the Vaider Group and Steklarna Hrastnik.
We observed increased interest from end consumers in sustainable products, especially those effectively complementing the exceptional quality and aesthetic appearance of glass bottles.
This trend is also recognized by our strategic partners and the owners of the most prestigious brands, confirming that the ability to continuously innovate towards more sustainable production will become a key competitive advantage in the glass industry.
We intend to build upon the success of this first glass production run with hydrogen by introducing new production series for strategic partners in 2024. Initial estimates indicate that the share of low-carbon glass packaging produced with hydrogen and other sustainable technologies could potentially reach up to 15% of our total production in the coming years.