Encirc has partnered with alcoholic beverage company Diageo to build a new hydrogen-powered furnace at its facility in Elton, Cheshire, UK.
The hydrogen furnace will help create the world’s first net zero glass bottles at scale by 2030, Encirc says.
The furnace will operate on a mix of low-carbon hydrogen and green electricity. The hydrogen will be sourced from Vertex Hydrogen, a partner of the UK government-backed industrial decarbonization project HyNet North West.
The furnace will be fully operational by 2027 and help Encirc cut carbon emissions by 90%. It will have a capacity to produce up to 200 million Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Gordon’s and Tanqueray, Gordon’s, Captain Morgan and Smirnoff bottles annually by 2030.
“This will be a major step in our goal of producing net zero glass by 2030,” Adrian Curry, Managing Director of Encirc, said in the release. “With support from the government and key partners, Encirc and Diageo we believe it will be possible to have this first of its kind furnace up and running at the beginning of 2027.”\ The 400-acre distillery will be located in Ontario’s St. Clair Township alongside blending and warehousing operations.
Diageo produces alcohol brands including the popular Crown Royal Canadian Whisky brand.
Diageo says the use of the zero-carbon furnace will support its goals of reducing carbon emissions across its supply chain by 2030. Earlier this year, the spirits maker announced plans to build a $193 million distillery in Canada that would be carbon neutral.
“All renewable energy options are important to us and we’d like to see government and industry further accelerating the direct supply of green energy as a mainstream option,” Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer and president of global supply and procurement at Diageo, said in a statement. “Ultimately, we look forward to a world where people can enjoy their favorite drinks from zero-carbon glass bottles.”
Encirc, a subsidiary of Spanish glass container manufacturer Vidrala, says decarbonizing glass packaging will be a key part of the UK government’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050.
In 2021, Encirc worked with glass industry partners Glass Futures to test one of its furnaces in its Northern Ireland plant on sustainable biofuels. The furnace, which produces bottles for brands including Diageo’s Black & White, used 100% recycled glass to create bottles with a carbon footprint of up to 90% lower compared to a standard glass bottle.