Robert Ireson
<[email protected]>

In his role of Innovation Programme Manager at GTS, Rob Ireson is responsible for coordinating all R&D activities within the company, from concept to commercialisation.  Over the last five years he has helped to secure more than £7m grant funding for GTS and partners, playing a lead role in the development of a new coating to improve glass strength and is currently leading the development of new raw materials with potential to reduce the environmental impact of glass manufacturing.  Other projects that Rob has been involved in include the development of new glasses for Photonics/laser applications, bioactive glass coatings, new glass-based Additive Manufacturing technologies, laser technologies for processing glass, glass-based technologies to improve productivity within the Oil & gas sector and a novel electric-melting technology for the vitrification of nuclear waste.  Rob is also responsible for developing and maintaining good relationships with external partners from industry and academia in order to identify and create opportunities to secure funding for new research projects.  Previously Rob gained more than seven years’ experience in R&D and project management at Tata Steel, developing a wide range of novel coatings and coating processes for steel substrates.

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Enviroglass – Developing new raw materials to reduce the environmental impact of glass making
Robert Ireson*1, Paul A. Bingham2
1 Glass Technology Services Ltd., 9 Churchill Way, Sheffield, S35 2PY, UK

2 Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Howard Street, Sheffield, S1 1WB, UK

The UK Glass Industry Decarbonisation Roadmap 2050 highlighted that reformulation of glass composition to lower the melting temperature, enhance melting rates or, preferably, both, offers a route for the glass industry to reduce its CO2 emissions.  Such routes have historically been discounted due to the higher price of suitable raw materials such as lithium containing sources.  To address this issue GTS and Sheffield Hallam University undertook an InnovateUK funded project to explore the use of materials arising from various waste streams in order to make the reformulation opportunities more cost-effective.

The project identified a number of routes to reformulate the glass composition to reduce the melting temperature of the glass.  Suitable ash-based waste materials were identified and used to replace current raw materials at levels of up to 8 wt%, offering the potential to enable a cost-effective solution to reduce glass melting temperatures and therefore furnace temperatures by as much as 39°C.

A consortium, led by Glass Technology Services Ltd. and Sheffield Hallam University, has recently secured £1.4 million in grants from Innovate UK and BEIS to progress this novel concept through to pilot trials in order to build a portfolio of data sufficient to justify trials on a commercial glass manufacturing line. This presentation will discuss the findings from the initial feasibility study and outline how the next phase of the project plans to address challenges such as the variation in composition from batch to batch, mitigating hazardous components in the ash (e.g. Cl, SO3) and eliminating or managing components in ash that affect glass colour (e.g. Fe, Mn).