Initiatives for reducing Energy consumption

Energy Usage

We work continuously to minimize energy input into all our processes, so that the usage of glass contributes net benefit to sustainability.

Please refer to the "NSG Group Energy Policy".

Our energy usage and carbon emission

For both environmental and financial reasons, we continue to use natural gas as the fuel of choice for glass melting. Furnaces continue to be converted from heavy fuel oil to gas.

Small quantities of diesel and LPG are used for space heating and back up generators. See the graphs for consumption and carbon emission in details.

Natural Gas
Heavy Fuel Oil
Carbon Emission
Please refer to the data.

Initiatives to reduce energy usage & carbon (CO2e) emission

Energy & Carbon Management

All initiatives are monitored by the Heads of SBUs and Group functions at six-monthly Energy & Carbon management Committee meetings.

Energy & carbon management SBU committees

The energy pilot plant program was replaced during FY2022/3 with the introduction of management committees at SBU level. The role of these committees is to facilitate focused engagement across the SBU with involvement of the SBU executive team and other key central functions. This gives the opportunity to provide focused identification and dissemination of activites relevant to the SBU as well as general Group level initiatives. Alongside energy efficiency activities, the committee also coordinates progress of decarbonization roadmaps at an SBU level which are derived from regional and local plant level proposals. This 'bottom-up' approach is one of the key aspects for decarbonization target achievement with ownership of the roadmap at a local production site level.

This management approach has facilitated the development of the NSG Group decarbonization roadmap. This roadmap focuses on the implementation of five key activities to support the achievement of the mid term (2030) Science Based Target achievement and long term (2050) carbon neutrality. The five stages run in parallel incorporating existing activities as well as development and implementation of technologies and processes of the future. The program is detailed in the figure below.

Progress of this roadmap will be coordinated by the Energy & carbon management core multifunctional team, with management committee progress reviews on a six monthly basis. The first iteration of the roadmap focused on a 'top down' approach to identify at a Group level the opportunities and program actions necessary to implement those opportunities to achieve targets. This roadmap was further developed with the introduction of the 'bottom up' activities, leading to the development of the first iteration of the NSG Group action plan for decarbonization. Now into the third iteration of development, specific examples of these actions are included in the following sections;

Operational energy & carbon efficiency projects

The Operational Cost Saving program aims to reduce all operational costs in the areas of prime and overhead costs. One of the largest prime costs for the Group is energy.

As part of the NSG Group Transformation program, energy and carbon efficiency / cost reduction activities are classified according to the financial saving, cost and/or level of technology innovation into one of three categories;

To support the cost saving activities across sites, a deep analysis of all energy projects within the Transformation and OCS database is regularly completed. Multiple projects were identified for rapid dissemination in FY2023/3 to deliver energy consumption, CO2e reduction & cost savings. Each manufacturing site within the Group had at least one active OCS energy project in FY2023/3. Led by Manufacturing Excellence and assisted by other Group functions, NSG Group sites identified more than 200 energy and carbon optimization opportunities, resulting in annual energy efficiency improvements in excess of 50GWh and CO2e savings in excess of 30kt.

Major projects include; furnace fuel combustion optimization, reducing electrical requirements of motors, optimizing compressed air systems, energy sub metering, energy efficient lighting, fuel switching, cogeneration processes, waste heat and energy recovery.

An initiative to engage in Industry 4.0 or Internet of Things (IoT) for energy management continued to be progressed during FY2023/3. This includes analytics of process data including energy metering with the goal of optimization of energy consumption & CO2e emission. The analytics also supports the identification and development of new projects, such as identifying energy waste & management of tariffs. This project links directly to the broader aspects of digitilization of NSG operations and activities which is a Group level initiative. Several other digitilization projects for improved energy efficiency are under development across the organization, with pilot applications implemented in the UK, North America and South America.

A focus on the energy & carbon efficiency of operating furnaces when they are repaired was launched in FY2020/3 and continued to be implemented in FY2023/3. This included the restart of the first furnace repair where this minimum 5% improvement target has been introduced and the performance exceeded this target. The program continues as a key activity within the specific actions for efficiency improvements in addition to the general efficiency benefits of furnace repairs. This program has now been implemented at several furnace repairs, including 3 repairs in FY2023/3 resulting in significant improvements in efficiency expected across the full life (at least 15 years) of the furnace operation.

R&D activity

Reducing CO2 emissions and maintaining the security of energy supply for our furnaces will remain fundamental to our continued business. Implementation of incremental technology changes will be required in the short term to minimize capital expenditure.

During FY2021/3, the original R&D decarbonization project (Project Carbon 2050) was separated into a series of individual project activities to support the delivery of the Group strategic mid term targets (RP24) and longer term Science Based Target goals. In FY2023/3, these individual projects continued with the implementation of several specific project actions to 'test' the application of various technologies in supporting delivery of the targets with viable solutions. A key project that continued within FY2023/3 was the application of Hydrogen as a low carbon alternative fuel in the float glass manufacturing processes. In August 2021, NSG Group achieved a global first with tests of the use of hydrogen at its Greengate Works in St. Helens, U.K.

The initiative is part of a project managed by HyNet, a consortium of industries in the North West of England, aimed at reducing carbon emissions from industry, homes and transport. The work is supported by £5.2m of funding from the UK government under the Industrial Fuel Switching Scheme. NSG Group are investigating whether hydrogen can be used to wholly or partly replace the natural gas and oil that are the standard fuels for the glass making industries. If all of the natural gas can be replaced with hydrogen this would reduce emissions of scope 1 CO2e by around 80%.The float glass produced from this successful trial has an overall carbon footprint of 40% lower than standard float glass produced.

The development of Hydrogen and other alternative, low/zero carbon fuels continued during 2021 and into 2022, with another global first achieved by the Group with the production of float glass utilising a bio derived fuel oil.

Greengate site,St. Helens, UK.
Flame appearance inside the furnace using a fuel blend of 80% natural gas and 20% Hydrogen.
Flame appearance inside the furnace using a fuel blend of 100% Hydrogen.

Management systems

We have maintained ISO 50001 certification across all operations in Germany, Italy, Finland and the Automotive engineering function. In addition, the certification has been extended to included operations in South America (Chile) with plans of further implementation in FY2024/3 across Brazil & Argentina. Investment in sub-metering hardware and software installations allows a high level of transparency in energy consumption and enables a sophisticated energy planning process with improvement activities, target setting and frequent reviews to be established. This is a key component of the strategy within FY2023/3 to link digitization and decarbonization activities.

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

All UK manufacturing sites are continuing to participate in the UK government Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). Currently entering phase 3, the scheme is linked to the UK government commitment to the EU Energy Directive article 8. Sites are assessed by certified external auditors with the aim of identifying viable energy saving project activities. The assessment includes verification of energy consumption data and site energy audits which result in a set of published recommendations signed off by a UK senior management representative. A number of initiatives identified within the scheme have been implemented and disseminated across other regions. Similar schemes exist in several EU and other countries either at a mandatory or voluntary level with many sites participating.

Renewable on-site energy generation and alternative fuels

In 2020 the Group published (via CDP response) a target to increase the proportion of certified renewable electricity (as purchased and/or via on-site generation) to 50% by end of 2024 vs 2018 baseline consumption proportion.

Progress towards this target was significant during FY2023/3, with 32% of the NSG Group operations electricity consumption being supplied from renewable generation.

During FY2023/3, several specific project initiatives were launched. Building on the signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) with EDP Renewables (EDPR), the world's fourth largest renewable energy producer, for the renewable electricity generated by a wind farm located in Poland. The PPA program was extended to include activities across several regions involving multiple sites. The purchase of certified renewable generation certificates (REC's) in countries across Europe, the America's and Asia regions continues.

The purchased of REC’s is a key part of the decarbonization transition activities with the expectation that over a period of the next years, the proportion of REC’s purchased will decrease and be substituted with increasing quantities of electricity purchased via PPA’s.

In addition, continued investigation and investment (via internal capex or utilising third party funding approaches) in on-site generation has been made.

Alongside the existing on-site generation facilities at the NSG technical center in the UK (Lathom) which became operational in 2020, the Northwood technical center in Ohio (2021) and the Rossford fabrication operations facility, Ohio (2022), the Group has opened in FY2023/3 onsite generation capability in Aken (Germany) and continues to expand existing operations such as the photovoltaic panels on the roof and former car parking areas of our German Weiherhammer plant. Further on site generation projects are under evaluation in North America, Malaysia, Japan and several other locations.

The thin film solar panels in Rossford plant

We continue to evaluate and utilize alternative low carbon / renewable fuel sources across the Group operations. As well as the Hydrogen and bio derived fuel trials in the UK, investigations are ongoing to identify viable sources of such fuels in other global locations. The use of such decarbonization technologies has been an integral part of the development of NSG low carbon glass solutions.

Partnership with suppliers

We continue to partner with key suppliers to develop projects to reduce energy consumption in our manufacturing sites. Close collaboration with leaders in specific technologies is enabling us to implement optimum solutions to specific energy management challenges. Collaborative projects undertaken include; utilization of battery storage systems to support reduction in consumption peaks in electricity demand, addressing compressor inefficiency and installation of high efficiency motors and to make better use of waste heat generated in our glass-making processes.

Employee energy efficiency awareness

An energy management training program, designed to help the Group deliver cost savings and reduced CO2e emissions, has continued to be rolled out globally. Launched in 2016, the program has been implemented across European, South American, Japan and South East Asia operations.

The initial program involved local site energy champions in a 'back to school' initiative that increased levels of energy awareness and supports the on-going generation of energy and carbon management project activities. The key aspect of the training is to help the delegates understand the approach to energy and carbon management, how they can identify and implement activities at their sites and encourage others to do so.

Following the successful implementation of remote training solutions developed in FY2022/3, several discrete training sessions were held to both educate new energy champions as well as providing 'refresher' training to previous attendees. This activity was supplemented with the development of various energy management auditing tools to support implementation of best practices. A specific focus during FY2023/3 has been a return to basics program to ensure continued adoption and development of the existing best practice management activities in place across the Group. To date, the training has directly involved more than 75 champions, with identification and implementation of over 300 projects. Energy savings have exceeded ¥ 130 million, and reduced CO2e emissions by more than 4,000 tonnes.

The initiative comprises three levels of training, with level 1 involving 50 hours in all aspects of energy management. The course is organized with the support of local functional teams and was led by David Cast, Climate Change Director, NSG Group. It is designed to support site energy management activities and give formal qualifications to the delegates with the cost of the course being recovered by the delegates identifying and delivering energy cost-saving projects.

Following successful completion of level 1, delegates are encouraged, where appropriate to their role, to continue energy management training with external organizations leading to level 2 and level 3 qualifications. Several delegates across the NSG Group have achieved the level 3 qualification.

Project examples that have been implemented so far include:

It is planned to implement the training in FY2024/3 as a combination of face to face and remote activities. This will extend the reach even further of the training activity to develop the necessary skills across the organization in support of the decarbonization and energy efficiency goals.

Employee Engagement Program - collaboration with JUMP

In 2021 we launched an energy & carbon awareness program for employees based at the NSG European technical center. This program utilizes a 3rd party software platform (JUMP) called the net zero challenge (NZC). The NZC offers simple ways in which people can be more sustainable, no matter where they are on their sustainability journey. It links activities in the workplace and at home, proving practical ideas and suggestions. Progress is measured against targets with participation encouraged by reward and recognition programs. In 2022 the program was extended across all UK operations. Through implementation of these simple measures, UK employees have delivered in excess of 7 tonnes of CO2e reduction. While this is a very small fraction of the total UK emissions of NSG Group operations, the increase in awareness as a result of participating in the program is very significant and supporting the energy & carbon objectives of the Group.

Heat Recovery In Poland Operations

A four step program was initiated at the Automotive OE operation in Chmielow, Poland to recover and utilize waste heat generated at various stages in the manufacturing process. Stage 1 and 2 involved the capture and recirculation of heat generated from air compressors on the site. Stage 3 focused on capture and utilization of waste heat generated from the air handling units providing conditioned air to the clean rooms for pre-lamination stage of the process. Step 4 started in FY2022/3 and continuing during FY2023/3 includes the installation of heat recovery units on the glass bending furnaces and utilizing this heat for generation of hot water for plant space heating. Total energy savings delivered by the project will be in excess of 2.5 GWh/yr and in excess of 1800 tonnes of CO2 avoided for generation of thermal energy.

Over the past decade, the NSG Group has worked on improving its energy efficiency through energy management projects such as lighting upgrades, utilization 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.

Solar Panel

It is increasingly recognized that a move from fossil fuel 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 - Rooflight of Low Emissivity online coated glass

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.

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