2022 is the worldwide 12 months of glass. And but many glass factories are struggling to outlive. Excessive power prices and appreciable CO2 emissions imply that cup manufacturing faces a difficult future. Researchers at FAU and Technische Hochshchule Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm are at the moment conducting analysis geared toward discovering an answer to make glass manufacturing extra sustainable with out counting on fossil fuels. Their method is predicated on electrically operated furnaces.
„We use glass way more in our on a regular basis lives than we notice, typically coloured, typically clear, for a complete vary of various features,“ says Prof. Dr. Dominique de Ligny from the Chair of Glass and Ceramics at FAU. „Not just for home windows, but additionally for our smartphone screens, for storage jars, in rotary blades in wind generators or within the manufacturing of lasers.“
Producing glass requires massive quantities of power. In an effort to produce glass, numerous uncooked supplies must be heated in a furnace at temperatures of over 1600 levels Celsius. This excessive temperature is achieved by burning pure gasoline, however massive portions of CO2 are launched within the course of. Rising costs for pure gasoline imply that cup factories are dealing with big will increase in manufacturing prices. Within the meantime, power prices account for greater than 40% of whole prices, whereas earlier than 2020 they solely accounted for 14%.
A development that’s already putting a number of glass factories on the brink of closure.
Melting glass utilizing electrical energy
Along with Prof. Dr. Sven Wiltzsch from the College of Supplies Engineering at TH Nürnberg, Prof. Dr. Dominique de Ligny has already been researching into strategies to make glass manufacturing extra sustainable and impartial of fossils fuels since 2020. One possibility is to warmth furnaces with electrical energy as an alternative of pure gasoline. In an effort to warmth the uncooked materials utilizing electrical energy, electrodes are connected to the sting of the glass melting pot. Electrical energy flows between the electrodes, transferring power to the fabric and inflicting it to begin to soften.
„If we presume that we can use inexperienced power in future, that will make this methodology far more sustainable. This course of would solely launch very small quantities of CO2, as purely electricity-based melting processes don’t contain any combustion. Aspect merchandise corresponding to CO2 or carbon monoxide would not be launched,“ explains Prof. Wiltzsch. „If the furnace is operated utilizing electrical energy, much less power is misplaced than is the case when changing hydrogen, for instance. The system is subsequently extra environment friendly.“
Blue glass as an alternative of brown glass
Throughout their experiments, nevertheless, the researchers got here throughout an issue: their methodology isn’t appropriate for producing brown glass, however brown glass is significant for sure functions. Brown glass is required, for instance, to retailer medication and foodstuffs, because it protects them from UV rays.
The rationale why the strategy isn’t appropriate for producing brown glass is the excessive focus of oxygen in electrical furnaces. In conventional furnaces, the ambiance is low in oxygen, however in an electrical oven, oxygen ranges are excessive. The excessive focus of oxygen within the furnace adjustments chemical reactions on the stage of the atoms, producing blue somewhat than brown glass.
Nicole Ostermeier is investigating the particular atomic properties of brown glass in her Bachelor’s thesis. She is finding out utilized supplies science at TH Nürnberg, and is finishing up analysis at FAU into why brown glass loses its colour and the way the melting course of adjustments when electrical energy is used.
„If we understood the impact oxygen has on the colour of the glass, we’d additionally be capable to produce brown glass utilizing electrodes, making the complete glass manufacturing course of extra sustainable,“ say Prof. de Ligny and Prof. Wiltzsch.
Friedrich–Alexander College Erlangen–Nurnberg
Glass and the power reform: Sustainable manufacturing due to electrical energy? (2022, Might 23)
retrieved 23 Might 2022
This doc is topic to copyright. Other than any honest dealing for the aim of personal research or analysis, no
half could also be reproduced with out the written permission. The content material is supplied for data functions solely.