H2Glass Partner Steklarna Hrastnik achieves breakthrough with hydrogen use in glass production

December 20, 2023 | News

Hrastnik, December 12, 2023 – Hrastnik1860, a member of the Vaider Group, has successfully conducted an industrial production of premium glass bottles using hydrogen energy source, marking the first commercial use of hydrogen in the glass packaging industry. With over 60% hydrogen fuel used for glass melting, Hrastnik1860 has reduced the direct carbon footprint of the melting process by more than 30%. Through this successful first industrial run with hydrogen, the company has strengthened its 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.

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.”, explained Tilen Sever, Director of Development, Technology, and Innovation. “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 establishedtechnological limits.“, he added.

Matevž Fazarinc, Executive Director of Hrastnik1860, adds that “reducing the carbon footprint has long been one of our key strategicobjectives. 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.

Pandora 1

Pandora 1

Hrastnik1860 has long 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 strategic partners of Hrastnik1860 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 industry.

Therefore, Peter Čas, CEO of Hrastnik1860 and Vaider Group, is confident that “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.”

The company intends 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 Hrastnik1860’s total production in the coming years.

About Hrastnik1860:

Hrastnik1860 member of Vaider Group, with its two production units located in Hrastnik, Slovenia, and more than 160 years of tradition, is a renowned global partner in the development and manufacturing of world-class engineered glass products. The company is famous for creating technically demanding bottles, primarily in the spirit segment, and offers an extensive range as a full-service solution partner—from R&D and consulting to innovative design, prototyping, manufacturing, decoration, and reliable delivery.

Being made of top-quality glass, HRASTNIK1860’s products are acclaimed for their perfect crystal shine and are entirely free of heavy metals. These products are distinguished by a combination of style and quality, ranging from traditional designs to innovative, award-winning solutions that have received recognition and won prestigious awards such as the Red Dot Design Award, German Innovation Award, and other design-related honors. Hrastnik1860 also proudly holds the EcoVadis Platinum Medal 2023 for its sustainability efforts, placing the company among the top 1% of glass manufacturers worldwide.


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