Glass global centres of excellence revealed

05 Mar 2018


Plans have been unveiled for twin centres of excellence for glass in the North of England, with St Helens being named as one of the two sites. The initiative aims to put the UK at the forefront of Global Manufacturing.

Glass Futures, an initiative started in Sheffield by the UK glass sector’s representative body British Glass, has evolved into a £50 million project bringing industry and academia together.

The sites under consideration include Pilkington Glass Watson Street works in St Helens and the University of Leeds’ new research and innovation campus in West Yorkshire.

The proposed industrial research hub in St Helens could see the creation of 50 direct jobs, with a further 50 direct jobs in the Leeds research hub and up to 1000 indirect jobs across the two sites.

The facilities will bring together world class experts to carry out research into energy and emissions reduction, glass formulation and new high-tech products.

If it goes ahead, the St Helens site would focus on the ‘hot’ side of glass production, with a large experimental glass furnace capable of producing 30 tonnes of product per day for windows, bottles or fibre glass. Research there would concentrate on raw materials and alternative energy sources to reduce carbon and other emissions by over 80 per cent.

The Leeds site would focus on the ‘cold’ side of glass production, with research into coatings, structure and the use of glass in medicine.