Ardagh Group partners Absolut Vodka for hydrogen-fired glass furnace

SWEDEN – Luxembourg-based packaging firm Ardagh Group has signed an agreement with Absolut Vodka for a partly hydrogen energy-fired glass furnace for large-scale production.

The move is said to be the first-of-its-kind shift in the spirits industry and is intended to minimize the CO2 emissions from making Absolut’s bottles.

Ardagh Group said the use of a hydrogen furnace is expected to reduce Absolut Vodka’s carbon footprint from glass by 20% and will help the firm become completely CO2-neutral by 2030.

The glass furnace is expected to commence operations in the second half of 2023.

Ardagh said that the partnership will expedite the shift of the global glassmaking process for a more sustainable future.

Ardagh’s Limmared glass production facility in Sweden, which has been a partner with Absolut for four decades, currently powers its furnaces with a mix of natural gas and electricity.

Ardagh will start a pilot in Limmared where 20% of its natural gas will be replaced with green hydrogen to produce Absolut’s bottles.

This includes a modification in the ongoing production of Absolut bottles for all international markets.

The electricity will be generated on-site using renewable energy sources, the packaging firm said.

Ardagh Glass Limmared Managing Director Bo Nilsson said: “Our industry needs to be less reliant on fossil fuels and transition at pace to using more green energy.

“By investing in this new technology, we are embarking on a journey to reduce the carbon footprint of our glass packaging.

“There are challenges with such innovation, but we are committed to being an early mover in future-proofing our glass manufacturing operations worldwide.”

Stéphanie Durroux, Chief Executive of The Absolut Company, added: “Given we’ve been investing in our own production for decades, decreasing our emissions and increasing energy efficiency, we’re now in a position where we also can focus on the parts of our value chain that are outside our own scope.

“The glass manufacturing industry is on a transformative journey, and the world can’t wait for the perfect solution.

“A bold and innovative approach is needed to accelerate radical change that will help solve the significant sustainability challenges that all glassmakers and buyers of glass face.”

The move follows other joint measures to cut carbon emissions, such as making glass lighter, using more electricity in the present furnace, and using a lot more recycled flint glass.

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