How Greta Thunberg influences cellular glass production

logo_smallGreta Thunberg is the young Swedish girl, who kicked the ass of most adults towards a more ecologic world to avoid a climate catastrophe. The fossil addicted adults react quite aggressively like most addicted people, not becoming their drug anymore. Nevertheless, Sweden wants to become the first fossil free country, the latest in 2045. This move is already extended to Europe by Ursula von der Leyen for a CO2-neutral Europe in 2050.

urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-190803-99-324738-large-4-3downloadThis decision has large consequences for the production of cellular glass. Indeed, today about 95% of the foaming of glass is done with fossil energy, primarily natural gas. For the foaming, glass powder, mixed with a foaming agent, has to be heated to above 800°C.

For the foaming of gravel, SiC (dry process) or glycerin / water glass (wet process) are used and both foaming recipes can be done in air without protective air. For that reason, GLASOPOR in Norway changed from fossil to electric heating. As a consequence, their CO2-emission per m³ decreased from 35 kg to 7 kg, like shown in the old  and  new EPD. I guess they use renewable electricity  produced by water or wind.

The company STESS, producing Neoporm and already mentioned in a previous blog was also using a recipe, which was able to foam nicely in an electric furnace, like I have observed with my own eyes once in Wuppertal. It seems to be based on an organic foaming agent and water glass.

On the other hand, it is well known that foaming with carbon (black) (valid for 95% of the cellular glass boards) needs a protective atmosphere to avoid burning of the foaming agent before sintering of the glass. In case this process has to be done with electric heating, it will be necessary to generate a protective atmosphere with separate means. One way is the solution of  float glass, where Nitrogen, mixed with 5% Hydrogen is injected into the furnace above the tin bath through the roof to avoid oxidation of the tin. This solution is quite expensive while a tin bath can be much better closed against air than a foaming furnace.

It is clear that before 2050 the cellular glass world has to be converted to electric heating with alternative recipes or expensive equipment to avoid early oxidation of the foaming agent. Greta has really impact, I am proud on that girl and I will do my part of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s