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VERCANE program for greener glass melting

The consortium formed by ENGIE, Fives, Saverglass and Verescence has launched its research and development program «VERCANE: fusion de VERre CArboNEutre» (carbon neutral glass melting).

The purpose of this ambitious program is to support the industrial glass sector in its efforts to decarbonize glass production by evaluating energy sources for a sustainable industrial process.

The glassmaking sector, one of the flagships of the French industry, is facing the challenge of carbon neutrality. CO2 emissions in this sector are mainly produced by the glass melting process, accounting for 70-80% of the total emissions of a production site, in the sector which has more than 80 furnaces spread over 50 sites in France. Fully in line with objectives of the “France Relance” plan, the French recovery plan to transform the economy, and the 2050 low-carbon strategy program, VERCANE aims to develop sustainable scenarios of energy transition by designing solutions based on decarbonised energy sources.

For this purpose, VERCANE studies different carbon neutral energy systems that could be compatible with the glass melting process: hydrogen, bioresources and process electrification. On the other hand, the program explores possibilities to adapt existing melting furnaces to new energy sources. VERCANE project partners include:

  • ENGIE, through its ENGIE Lab CRIGEN Research Center and ENGIE Solutions – an energy partner in charge of project coordination, energy vectors analysis, numerical simulation studies to ensure the prospective vision of the energy context.
  • Saverglass and Verescence - industrial partners to bring real case studies on their industrial sites to the project and to contribute technical work packages involving their know-how of glass production in melting furnaces.
  • Fives - a technological partner, in charge of analyzing the challenges related to the technological retrofit of furnaces with new carbon-free energy sources and a provider of design and process know-how.

“Participation in this program represents a double opportunity for us. First of all, positioning Fives as a reputable partner in the energy transition plan in France by highlighting our proven electric melting technologies, together with Saverglass and Verescence. Secondly, this program will enable us to stay informed about alternative technologies - hydrogen and biomass - potentially interesting in the longer term”, comments Alexandre Brusset, Vice President - Glass, Fives.

Targeting viability and sustainability, the first phase of the project takes also into account available territorial and local resources and transport solutions to the production site. The project will ultimately include concrete case studies at production sites of Saverglass and Verescence to deploy large-scale industrial demonstrators.