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3 minute read

Encirc to begin latest sustainability project to further reduce carbon output

Glass container manufacturer and filler, Encirc, is set to reduce its carbon output at its facility in Elton, Cheshire by more than 15.6 thousand tonnes a year, with the installation of a new, intelligent end-to-end process control system.

The company, with bid writing support from Glass Futures, has been awarded government funding from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to begin its DEEP Control project (deployment of end-to-end process control). The industry-leading technology will allow the container producer to optimise its furnaces to run at minimum viable energy, delivering huge carbon reduction levels every year, while also improving productivity and product quality.

The DEEP Control project, which will digitally link the furnaces to Encirc’s 14 production lines, is being carried out in partnership with the UK’s leading specialists in glass, Glass Futures, together with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Hartree Centre, and Siemens.

Encirc is set to reduce its carbon output at its facility in Elton, Cheshire by more than 15.6 thousand tonnes a year / Picture: Encirc

The new system will also further increase the value of Encirc’s world-first ‘Industry 4.0-ready’ glass production line, built at the end of 2020, which uses cutting-edge technology to ensure that glassmaking is safer, easier and more efficient than ever before.

Paddy O’Doherty, Encirc’s deputy operations director and project lead, said: “Glass is not only a historic material, it’s the packaging choice of the future. Glass’s sustainability benefits are unparalleled, but we know there is work to be done in further reducing the carbon output of the production process.

“Industry leading projects such as this help us boost production, upskill our workforce and reduce our carbon footprint in line with consumer demands for more sustainable products. This is just one part of glass’s decarbonisation challenge. We are also pushing the boundaries when it comes to using more innovative fuels, such as with our recent biofuel project in our Northern Ireland factory in Derrylin, which used sustainable biofuel in place of natural gas to reduce the carbon footprint of the bottle-making process by up to 90%, creating the world’s most sustainable glass bottles to date.

“We’re also championing better, more innovative ways to encourage glass recycling once our products are in the market, and we’re an active supporter of the implementation of a Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS) across the UK. As with all of our projects, collaboration and knowledge-sharing is key, which is why we work with game changing organisations such as Glass Futures, the STFC Hartree Centre, and Siemens to ensure we are always at the forefront of production.

Dr Ajith Appukuttan, senior R&D projects manager at Glass Futures, added: “Glass manufacturing consumes a lot of energy, significantly in the melting of glass in the furnace. This project brings together expertise on digitalisation from the STFC Hartree Centre, glass manufacturing knowledge from Glass Futures, and data integration technology from Siemens to deploy end-to-end digitalisation in Encirc’s manufacturing operations, thereby considerably improving operational efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions from the plant.

“Glass Futures has a highly qualified innovation team and the funding bid for this project was an excellent opportunity to offer Encirc support by identifying this project and then leading them through the complex bid writing process.”

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