Improving Energy Efficiency
Over the past decade, the NSG Group has worked on improving its energy efficiency through energy management projects such as lighting upgrades, utilisation of waste heat and innovative manufacturing equipment. This has created a platform in which the focus can shift from the reduction of energy consumption, to the integration of renewable energy projects to further improve the sustainability of its energy supply. Following a successful lighting installation project at our Gelsenkirchen site, we have seen significant advantages with the new LED lighting system as well as the savings it has generated for the business.
The NSG Group recently signed its first virtual Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with EDP Renewables (EDPR), the world’s fourth largest renewable energy producer, which will see approximately 100 GWh’s of renewable electricity generated by an EDPR wind farm in Poland. This 10-year agreement will help reduce exposure to the volatile wholesale electricity prices currently seen in the market as well as reducing carbon emissions.
John Wilgar, Head of Procurement at NSG Group added: “We are delighted to sign our first virtual PPA with our partner EDPR for the majority of our electricity demand in Poland. This helps us to secure renewable electricity at predictable costs over the long term in a market with a highly carbon intensive grid. It is a huge step towards our sustainability objectives in support of our actions on climate change.
The NSG Group is targeting to source the equivalent of at least 50% of its electricity (by kilowatt hour) globally from renewables by fiscal year 2024. The PPA with EDPR will contribute to this target and towards the NSG Group’s Science Based Target for carbon emission reduction by avoiding approximately 80,000 tonnes of carbon per year. This amount is the equivalent to the annual GHG emissions from 16,000 vehicles. To further support the NSG Group’s decarbonisation activities several onsite solar installations have been implemented. Building on the completion of a 2.3MWp installation in the UK in 2019, a 1.3MWp installation is undergoing final commissioning at the NSG Group’s Rossford site in the US. Both projects utilise First Solar modules and so support a key partner customer as well as demonstrate glass manufactured within the NSG Group. The project at Rossford will reduce carbon emissions by 1,500 tonnes per year and again provide a fixed cost of electricity.
Energy storage is also high on the NSG Group’s priorities having partnered with Convergent Energy + Power to introduce a 5MW/10MWh battery storage system for the Pilkington plant in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. The battery storage installation represents the first mutually beneficial cooperation between an energy storage developer and a glass manufacturing plant and is a sustainable way to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and benefit the local electricity grid.
In addition to renewable electricity projects, the NSG Group are also investigating the use of alternative, lower carbon fuels to replace the fossil fuel’s typically used in primary manufacturing processes. In a world first, NSG Group have recently undertaken trials to fire 100% Hydrogen at the Greengate glass furnace in St Helens, UK as part of the wider HyNet Hydrogen ‘hub’ in the North-west of England. This is believed to be the first large-scale demonstration of 100% Hydrogen firing in a live float glass production environment anywhere in the world, demonstrating the potential for deep decarbonisation of energy intensive industries like glass manufacturing.
In addition to hydrogen a number of other alternative fuels have been trialled as well as the use of electric-melting to supplement fuels. The NSG Group has successfully introduced a range of renewable energy projects to reduce emissions of processes and products. This exciting work continues at pace.
It is increasingly recognized that a move from hydrocarbons is essential as supplies are finite and global warming is a reality. Solar energy panels offer alternative solutions for a range of energy requirements, from small scale domestic applications to large scale solar power stations, from cloudy northern rooftops to hot sunny deserts. Glass is an integral and important element of these solar panels. Our wide range of high-quality products are used in the three leading solar technologies aimed at converting solar energy into electricity: thin film photovoltaics, crystalline silicon photovoltaics and concentrated solar power applications. In addition to the generation of electricity, our glass products are also used in solar applications that generate hot water.
Solar Control - Low Emissivity Rooflight
NSG has launched its first high performance solar control rooflight that provides occupant benefits in both summer and winter conditions. A low emissivity coating laminated with a special solar absorbing interlayer has allowed the customer to remove the internal blind system on the vehicle - providing an energy saving coupled to weight and cost saving benefits.
The NSG Group will promote the introduction of alternative energy sources such as hydrogen in the manufacturing process, and will actively promote efforts to decarbonize by providing products for the renewable energy market and developing products that save energy.