LionGlass Reduces Carbon Emissions, More Damage Resistant than Conventional Glass

lionglass penn state 1

(Credit: Penn State)

by | Jul 5, 2023

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Researchers at Penn State University have developed a low-carbon glass that cuts traditional glass emissions in half and uses significantly less energy than conventional glass production. The new product, called LionGlass, is also more than 10 times more durable than conventional, soda lime silicate glass.

The research team has filed a patent application for multiple variations of the product, and they are currently in the process of exposing LionGlass variations to different chemical environments.

Glass manufacturing accounts for more than 86 million tons of carbon emissions per year. In the conventional glass-making process, soda ash and limestone release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Further, the bulk of emissions from producing glass derives from the energy required to heat furnaces used in the melting process. LionGlass’ melting temperatures are hundreds of degrees lower, which results in about 30% reduced energy consumption than soda lime glass.

“Our goal is to make glass manufacturing sustainable for the long term,” said John Mauro, Dorothy Pate Enright Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State and lead researcher on the project. “LionGlass eliminates the use of carbon-containing batch materials and significantly lowers the melting temperature of glass.”

LionGlass Strength Adds to Sustainable Potential

LionGlass possesses more than 10 times the crack resistance of conventional glass, which allows for products created from it to be lighter in weight. Lightweight glass is more environmentally friendly as less energy and fewer materials are needed to create it. Transportation for lighter glass materials would also use less energy.

Studies show that people react positively to the prospect of companies using more glass packaging as it is 100% recyclable. LionGlass’ low emission production further contributes to glass’ potential as a sustainable material. The high crack resistance of the glass would make it even more commercially attractive for uses in the automobile industry, architecture, and healthcare, to name a few.

“Humans learned how to manufacture glass more than 5,000 years ago and since then it has been critical to bringing modern civilization to where it is today,” Mauro said. “Now, we are at a point in time when we need it to help shape the future, as we face global challenges such as environmental issues, renewable energy, energy efficiency, health care, and urban development. Glass can play a vital role in solving these issues, and we are ready to contribute.”

 

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