Bacardi, through a partnership with glassmaker Hrastnik1860, has completed a commercial production trial of a glass spirits bottle using hydrogen power.
The technology implemented in the trial used hydrogen to power a glass furnace, cutting emissions by over 30%, Bacardi said. The company produced 150,000 of the brand’s 70-centiliter glass bottles through the low-emissions process.
Bacardi said it has a goal of becoming the most environmentally responsible spirits company worldwide. It currently aims to be plastic-free by 2030, achieve zero waste to landfill at all production sites by 2025, and reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% by 2025.
“Piloting this lower carbon glass production is another example of Bacardi leading the industry in environmental best practice,” said Rodolfo Nervi, vice president of safety, quality, and sustainability for Bacardi. “We will take the learnings from the trial to help shape a pathway to hydrogen-fueled glass production and create a blueprint for others to follow. It’s only through making change as an industry that we can bring significant change to our impact on the environment.”
According to Bacardi, the trial represents the world’s first commercial production of a glass spirits bottle using hydrogen as fuel.
Decarbonizing Glass Production, Material’s Recyclability Appealing for Waste Reduction
Conventional glass manufacturing requires heating furnaces to extremely high temperatures, typically powered by carbon-emitting natural gas.
The industry is currently responsible for about 86 million tons of carbon emissions annually, and using hydrogen to power the material’s production may considerably decrease the glass sector’s impact. Hydrogen, when made using renewable-powered electricity, is a clean energy source that may be used for energy storage and has been explored as a resource for decarbonizing industrial operations. Using hydrogen paired with electrical furnaces may considerably reduce emissions compared to traditional glass production.
“Successfully producing lower emission, premium glass bottles at a commercial scale, with absolutely no compromise on quality, has made all the hard work worthwhile,” Hrastnik1860 CEO Peter Cas said. “Like Bacardi, we are committed to developing new innovations that lower emissions while maintaining premium quality. This revolutionary technology proves the two can go hand in hand and we are now taking the first steps in bringing it to market.”
Additionally, since glass is an infinitely recyclable material, it is considered a favorable alternative to plastic and other single-use packaging materials. Consumers appear to support this trend — in a Glass Packaging Institute survey, 92% of respondents reported they would feel positively toward a company that offered more glass packaging.