Keen to contribute to a sustainable and sustainable future, AGC Glass Europe is constantly striving to reduce the environmental impact of its production processes. As part of its roadmap towards carbon neutrality, the Group has just announced that it will launch by the end of 2022 the production of a range of float glasses with a significantly reduced carbon footprint, at less than 7 kg of CO2 per m2 of clear glass (thickness 4 mm).
This improvement will allow AGC – one of the largest flat glass producers in the world – to reduce by more than 40% carbon emissions from the production process of this float glass.
To achieve carbon-neutral glass production by 2050, all elements of the value chain must be taken into consideration: the decarbonization of the glass production process itself, but also the elimination of CO2 emissions upstream, in the supply chain, as well as other indirect emissions. Addressing all emissions in the value chain, AGC is today able to announce a first major step forward on its journey towards carbon neutrality thanks to the launch, at the end of 2022, of a new range of lenses. float with a lower carbon footprint.
A holistic approach to the production of low carbon glass
AGC takes a holistic approach to sustainability to produce low carbon glass:
Sustainable supply of raw materials
Use of high efficiency melting furnaces
Increased use of cullet (recycled glass)
Use of green energies
Optimization of transport between Group sites for finishing treatments
Optimization of the transport of finished products
Application of the holistic approach for a first low carbon production in Moustier
AGC Glass Europe's production facility in Moustier, Belgium will be the first AGC site to produce low-carbon glass, having successfully converted to meet the stringent conditions needed to do so.
In addition, the location of the Moustier plant puts it in an ideal situation for a supply of sustainable raw materials and constitutes a strategic asset for ensuring delivery to customers under optimal conditions of sustainability.
1. Sustainable sourcing of raw materials
Moustier, AGC's historic float glass production plant in continental Europe, benefits in particular from the local availability of very pure sand, requiring only light treatment before it can be used for the production of float glass. For several years, 75% of its raw materials – not only sand, but also other raw materials – have been transported by barge to the factory located along the Sambre river to be unloaded on site. same.
Sodium carbonate is an essential raw material for the manufacture of glass due to its ability to reduce the melting temperature of the main ingredient, sand. The CO2 footprint of soda ash varies greatly depending on the process used for its production. For the manufacture of low carbon glass, the Moustier plant will use sodium carbonate with a low carbon footprint.
2. Use of high efficiency melting furnaces
One of the Moustier furnaces is already taking advantage of improvements made during a recent cold repair (the melting furnaces are subject to a general overhaul every 15 to 18 years), by integrating new technologies such as electro-boosting, which uses electrical energy to melt sand and thus reduce dependence on imported natural gas. This innovative production process represents an important step forward on the company-wide carbon neutral roadmap.
3. Increased use of cullet (recycled glass)
Located in a region with a large number of processors, long-standing customers and Group subsidiaries, the Moustier plant has for many years taken advantage of various recycling solutions to increase the quantity of cullet used in the production of its glass. For this new float glass with a lower carbon footprint, new sources of cullet will increase by more than 50% the amount of recycled glass in production.
4. Use of green energies
AGC intends to maximize its own electricity production. In Belgium, the Group's country of origin, it has been able to considerably reduce its carbon footprint thanks to the presence of photovoltaic panels on all the roofs of its production plants, administrative sites and offices. AGC even has its own wind turbine on its Seneffe site, a few kilometers from Moustier.
The Moustier plant will benefit from a new supply of renewable electricity provided through on-site and off-site installations (including a cogeneration (combined heat and power or CHP) installation and solar panels).
5. Optimization of transport between Group sites for finishing treatments
Logistics is also an integral part of AGC's holistic strategy. In order to promote synergies between production and finishing as much as possible in order to reduce transport operations and CO2 emissions, laminated glass assembly for the manufacture of safety glass is carried out on the Moustier site itself, the application of the layers being carried out in the specialized factory in Lodelinsart located barely 25 km away.
6. Optimization of the transport of finished products
The strategic location of the Moustier plant gives it optimal transport distances for the delivery of finished products. The surrounding regions – northern France, the Benelux countries and western Germany are densely populated territories, totaling millions of customers within a radius of less than 250 km.
Low-carbon glass lends itself to multiple transformation possibilities
By the end of 2022, the Group will launch its new range of low-carbon float glass products, based on clear float glass whose carbon footprint has been reduced by more than 40% (compared to the reference value of AGC Glass Europe), less than 7 kg of CO2 per m2 for clear glass (thickness 4 mm).
This low-carbon float glass will be used in AGC's main ranges of functional glazing:
safety glass: Stratobel and Stratophone ranges
glass for thermal insulation: iplus range
solar control glass: Stopray, ipasol and Energy ranges
These new low-carbon lenses will offer the same look, quality and technical performance as AGC's classic float lenses.
AGC intends to generalize the experience acquired at Moustier by gradually extending its low-carbon strategy to other sites, starting with the Seingbouse plant in France in early 2023.
Davide Cappellino, President of AGC's Architectural Glass Europe and Americas Division, concludes: “Our first line of low-carbon lenses is an important milestone on AGC's decarbonization journey. We are very pleased to offer our customers a glass that, from raw material extraction to final installation, generates approximately 40% less CO² than our standard glass. This is a significant reduction, and a big step towards carbon neutrality in the construction sector. »
 Compared with the AGC Glass Europe reference: Planibel FDES in the INIES database
 The total amount of cullet added in the float furnace for the production of clear glass is generally around 20%.