Pernod Ricard-owned Absolut Vodka says it is the “first global spirits brand” to move to a partly hydrogen-fired glass furnace for its large-scale production.
The hydrogen initiative is Absolut’s latest step in its plan to become CO2-neutral by 2030. A requirement for meeting this goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of its glass packaging.
Ardagh’s Limmared glassworks (a subsidiary of Ardagh Group), which has been a partner of Absolut for 40 years, will supply the partly hydrogen-fired furnace. The company currently uses natural gas and electricity to power its furnaces. From the second half of 2023, Ardagh will launch a pilot in its Limmared plant to replace 20% of its natural gas with green hydrogen to manufacture all Absolut’s bottles across its portfolio.
Stéphanie Durroux, chief executive of Absolut, said: “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 of our own scope”.
She added: “The glass manufacturing industry is in 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 company has also made other changes in line with its CO2 neutrality commitments, such as the lightweighting of glass, increased use of electricity in the current furnace and an increase in recycled flint glass.
Bo Nilsson, managing director of Ardagh Glass Limmared, added: “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”.
By Gwen Jones
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