Ardagh hails sustainability success of NextGen Furnace

Ardagh Europe NextGen Furnace

ARDAGH Glass Packaging-Europe has announced that the glass bottles produced from its ‘world first’ hybrid NextGen Furnace have reached a consistent 64% CO2 emissions reduction, saving approximately 18,000 tonnes of CO2 since the start of 2024.

Since starting commercial production in October 2023, the NextGen Furnace at AGP-Obernkirchen in Germany has been gradually ramping up direct electrical heating via electrodes, towards a goal of 80% electrical heating and 20% gas.

To date in 2024, AGP-Europe revealed it has achieved an average rate of 60% electrical heating in the furnace.

The NextGen Furnace is funded through the BMWK ‘Decarbonisation of Industry’ programme, managed by the KEI, and also from the ‘NextGeneration EU’ European Innovation Fund.

Joris Goossens, R&D project manager, AGP-Europe, said, “Ramping up the electrical heating in the NextGen Furnace has not been an easy journey. In a conventional furnace, the combustion space is hotter than the glass, but in the NextGen Furnace, the glass gets hotter than the combustion space: the furnace is effectively upside down. We have been navigating uncharted territory.”

Sven-Roger Kahl, manager of furnace operations, AGP-Europe, added, “The NextGen design, which features electrodes in the bottom of the furnace, has challenged traditional furnace operating rules. It has been like learning to drive again, but it has been worth the effort to reach our goal of low-carbon glass packaging.”

Customers, glass industry peers and suppliers have visited the furnace to see the innovation in action. Government officials have also been welcomed to Obernkirchen to discuss the need for electrical grid connection to roll-out the technology to other AGP facilities.

AGP-Europe added that it intends to adopt hybrid and other sustainable melting technologies for furnace rebuilds from 2027 onwards, subject to access to the appropriate electrical infrastructure in the relevant markets.