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
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 details.
NSG Group Energy Usage
■ Natural Gas
■ Heavy Fuel Oil
Please refer to the data
Initiatives to reduce energy usage & carbon (CO2) 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 Core Team
A senior management team representing key functions including; manufacturing, engineering, procurement and R&D coordinate all project activities to ensure maximum engagement in the Group energy & carbon management program.
Energy & carbon management pilot plants
The concept of the pilot plants is to make a step change reduction in energy consumption & CO2 emission by using energy more efficiently and effectively. This initiative continues to expand across the Group with more than 27 sites engaged in the program. These sites represent in excess of 85 percent of NSG Group’s energy spend and in excess of 75% of NSG Group’s CO2 emissions.
Cross-functional pilot site teams are led locally by the plant manager, with proactive support from other Group functions, and extensive use is made of third-party suppliers. Over 1,000 projects have been implemented or continue to be evaluated.
Operational energy-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.
To support the cost saving activities across sites, a deep analysis of all energy projects within the OCS database is regularly completed. Multiple projects were identified for rapid dissemination in FY2021 to deliver energy consumption, CO2 reduction & cost savings. Each manufacturing site within the Group had at least one active OCS energy project in FY2021. Led by Manufacturing Excellence and assisted by other Group functions, NSG Group sites identified more than 160 energy-optimization opportunities, resulting in annual CO2 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 was progressed during FY2021. This includes analytics of process data including energy metering with the goal of optimization of energy consumption & CO2 emission. The analytics also supports the identification and development of new projects, such as identifying energy waste & management of tariffs.
NSG are actively engaged in the development of glass industry decarbonisation roadmaps, with publication of these roadmaps for both the European and UK glass industry. This activity supports the development and application of both existing and novel technologies available across the glass industry, including recommendations for appropriate application at NSG Group sites.
A focus on the energy & carbon efficiency of operating furnaces when they are repaired was launched in FY2020 and continued to be implemented in FY2021. Specific targets for efficiency improvements in addition to the benefit of furnace repair have been established. This program has now been implemented at several furnace repairs resulting in significant improvements in efficiency expected across the full life (at least 15 years) of the furnace operation.
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.
Project Carbon 2050 launched in 2018 supported the development and implementation of a decarbonization roadmap that identifies the technologies, barriers and financial investments required to achieve significant carbon emission reductions in float manufacturing by 2050. During FY2021 the integrated actvities of these specific R&D projects continued to increase the focus in key technology application to support the delivery of the Group strategic mid term targets (RP24) and longer term Science Based Target goals.
One such project is related to the application of Hydrogen as a low carbon alternative fuel in the float glass manufacturing processes. NSG Group are conducting tests of the use of hydrogen at its Greengate Works in St. Helens, U.K. A global first, 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. 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 CO2 by around 80%. The work is supported by £5.2m of funding from the UK government under the Industrial Fuel Switching Scheme with first trials completed in September 2021.
We have maintained ISO 50001 certification across all operations in Germany, Italy, Finland and the Automotive engineering function. Investment in sub-metering hardware and software installations allows a high level of transparency in energy consumption and enables a sophisticated energyplanning process with improvement activities, target setting and frequent reviews to be established.
Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)
All UK manufacturing sites are continuing to participate in the UK government Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). Currently in phase 2, 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% vs 2018 baseline consumption proportion.
Progress towards this target was significant during the year with several specific project initiatives launched. These included the purchase of certified renewable generation electrics (REC’s) in countries across Europe, the America’s and Asia regions. In addition, continued investigation and investment (via internal capex or utilising third party funding approaches) in on-site generation has been made.
The on-site photovoltaic generation facility at our technical center in Lathom, installed and fully operational since 2020 continues to deliver in excess of 30 percent of the site′s annual electricity demand. Our Northwood technical center in North America produces about 7 percent of its own electricity with on-site photovoltaic generation. We also have photovoltaic panels on the roof and former car parking areas of our German Weiherhammer plant. Investment has also been made for a new self generation PV facility at the Rossford fabrication operations in Ohio, USA. This facility will come on stream during 2021. Further on site generation projects are under evaluation in Malaysia, Japan and several other locations.
We continue to evaluate and utilize alternative low carbon / renewable fuel sources across the Group operations. This includes use of waste derived biofuel oil which cuts CO2 emissions on a furnace by 8kt / year. There are also plans to utilise a sustainable, bio-derived liquid fuel for a trial at one of the Group’s float operations in Europe.
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; utilisation 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.
A battery storage installation at Collingwood, North America is the first such NSG project in collaboration with an energy storage developer, Convergent Energy. The project is designed to disconnect the plant from grid connection during periods of high peak demand. The province of Ontario (Canada) uses natural gas electricity generating stations to produce the energy required for these peak usage periods. This project represents 5 MWh of power that the province will not need to produce during such peaks.
Employee energy efficiency awareness
An energy management training program, designed to help the Group deliver cost savings and reduced CO2 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.
In FY2021, with the impact of the Covid19 pandemic and asociated restriction in global travel, it became necessary to develop remote training solutions to continue to implement this program. Several discrete training sessions were held to both educate new energy champions as well as providing ‘refresher’ training to previous attendees. To date, the training has directly involved more than 65 delegates, with identification and implementation of over 250 projects.
Energy savings have exceeded ¥ 100 million, and reduced CO2 emissions by more than 2,500 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:
- LED lighting replacement and controls
- Staff awareness campaigns including 'shut-off' activity and inappropriate energy use
- Replacement of motors & drives with variable speed devices
- Optimizing combustion set up in furnaces and boilers
- Introducing energy 'mini audits' in daily routines (part of 5S activities)
NSG Settimo site becomes fully decarbonised
The automotive SBU operations site in Settimo Torinese, Italy has become the first fully decarbonised site within the NSG Group. Starting in April 2020, the site has been operating solely on renewable energy provided by a combination of certified renewable electricity and a district heating network. This will reduce the site’s emissions by 1,650 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of planting around 2,400 trees or removing almost a thousand cars from the roads.
Heat Recovery In Poland Operations
A four step program was initiated at the Automotive OE operation in Chmielow, Poland to recover and utilise waste heat generated at various stages in the manufacutring process. Stage 1 and 2 involved the capture and recirculation of heat generated from air compressors on the site. Stage 3 focused in capture and utilisation 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 is planned to install heat recovery units on the glass bending furnaces and utilise 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 500 tonnes of CO2 avoided for generation of thermal energy.
Lathom Solar Project
NSG Group and Lightsource BP have installed and connected a 2.3MW solar installation at the European Technical Centre in Lathom, Lancashire, UK. The site is anticipated to provide 30 percent of the facility’s annual electricity demand.
This project was developed and funded entirely by Lightsource BP, with no capital investment required from NSG Group and no disruption to their daily operations during construction. NSG Group buys the clean, renewable electricity via a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Lightsource BP, which provides a fixed, index-linked rate designed to hedge against future price fluctuations and deliver operational savings over the 25-year contract period.
This project is especially significant for both Lightsource BP and NSG Group as the installation showcases one of the glass manufacturer’s own products. The solar modules selected were sourced from First Solar, one of NSG Group’s largest global customers. Research and development for the glass contained within the solar modules was conducted at the European Technical Centre itself, where operations will now be powered by their own hard work.
As well as reducing electricity costs, the solar installation is a crucial part of NSG Group’s drive to improve our sustainability credentials, and this project will help us meet carbon reduction targets by saving an estimated 848 tonnes in emissions each year – the equivalent of taking 180 family cars off the road.