Japanese glass bottle manufacturer Toyo Glass has been chosen by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) to participate in its 2024 Regional Hydrogen Utilization Technology Development project.

The focus of Toyo’s involvement is the development of a glass-melting furnace equipped with an on-site hydrogen production facility.

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This marks Toyo’s second NEDO project related to hydrogen utilisation, following its 2023 selection for research on oxygen-hydrogen combustion as a heat source for glass production.

The project addresses the significant challenge of decarbonising glass production.

Traditional glass-melting furnaces reportedly rely heavily on fossil fuels.

Toyo’s solution involves transitioning to hydrogen fuel, a cleaner alternative.

However, a major hurdle in adopting hydrogen is establishing a reliable supply system.

To address this, Toyo proposes an on-site hydrogen production facility utilising water electrolysis. This process separates water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity. 

By generating hydrogen on demand, Toyo eliminates the need for large-scale storage tanks and the associated safety concerns of managing high-pressure liquefied hydrogen.

Moreover, the new glass furnaces only require moderate-pressure hydrogen for combustion, further simplifying implementation.

The project will begin by creating a small-scale model of the facility. 

The end goal is to develop technology that can be integrated into full-scale glass-melting furnaces. 

As a leader in the glass bottle industry, Toyo Glass says it is committed to minimising its environmental impact while maintaining the production of high-quality glass bottles. 

This project represents a significant step towards achieving a more sustainable future for glass manufacturing.

The benefits of on-site hydrogen production include:

  • Eliminates reliance on external hydrogen suppliers and large storage facilities.
  • Reduces the safety risks associated with high-pressure liquefied hydrogen.
  • Uses readily available water and electricity sources for hydrogen generation.
  • Potential for regionally self-sufficient hydrogen energy systems if renewable energy sources are used for the electrolysis process.