AGC Glass Europe, a pioneer in energy efficiency
AGC Glass Europe's site in Boussois in France has become a recognised pioneer following its phased introduction, from 2009 onwards, of the cleanest glass-industry furnace in Europe. The keys to its success have been two innovative technologies: oxy-combustion using low-NOx burners and heat recovery.
Oxy-combustion uses pure oxygen instead of the air normally used in furnaces to burn the fuel. Air contains 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen; since nitrogen is not required for combustion, it reduces combustion’s yield. As such, oxy-combustion avoids the substantial energy losses associated with standard air combustion; it is a first in the European flat-glass industry and reduces energy consumption by 15%.
Developed in partnership with Air Liquide, which supplies AGC Glass Europe with oxygen and burners, the second crucial technology used to boost energy efficiency is that of recovering heat from the fumes to pre-heat the gases before they are injected into the furnace. When used in conjunction with oxy- combustion, heat-recovery can reduce energy consumption by a further 10%, giving a combined reduction of 25%.
At the same time, emissions of CO2, sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides are also significantly reduced (i.e. by 12%, 35% and 80% respectively).