Saint-Gobain produced world’s first carbon-neutral flat glass

In a world first, France’s Cie. de Saint-Gobain said it produced carbon-neutral flat glass by using recycled materials and green energy.

The production is the latest sign that manufacturers of building materials are joining other industries in investing in slashing emissions. The zero-carbon flat glass, made for one week at a plant in Aniche, northern France, is part of Saint-Gobain’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the company said.

Saint-Gobain “succeeded in adjusting all of the furnace’s technical parameters to this dual challenge of operating with 100% recycled material and 100% biogas, while ensuring the right optical quality of the glass,” the manufacturer said in a statement. It used about 25% recycled-glass content in its output last year.

Last week’s test resulted in about 2,000 tons of carbon-neutral glass, enough to make about 100,000 windows and saving 1,000 tons of carbon emissions, Maud Thuaudet, head of the company’s French glass business, said at a press conference.

The cost of production was “several tens of percent” higher than for traditional glass, Benoit d’Iribarne, senior vice-president for technology and industrial performance, said at the briefing, citing the expense of collecting and sorting used glass and the high price of biogas. European Union carbon-emission permits would need to rise to between 200 and 300 euros a ton, from around 90 euros currently, to “even out” the costs, he said.

One option for the company would be to sell some low-carbon — rather than zero-carbon — glass, which would include some recycled content and renewable energy in the manufacturing process, said Claire Pedini, senior vice-president for human resources and corporate social responsibility.

Beyond glass, Saint-Gobain designs and manufactures a range of materials for construction. The company announced plans last year to build the world’s first carbon-neutral plasterboard plant in Norway.

Source: Bloomberg

Tags: Carbon-neutral, Flat Glass, Green Energy, Recycled Material, Saint-Gobain
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