Global spirits and beer company Diageo announced today a new partnership with glass manufacturer Encirc to build a hydrogen-powered furnace for the first-ever at scale net zero glass bottle production.

Diageo stated that by 2030, it aims to produce up to 200 million bottles annually from the facility for use by its Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Gordon’s and Tanqueray brands. The company said that the agreement will contribute to its climate commitments under its “Society 2030” sustainability strategy, including a goal to reduce carbon emissions across its supply chain by 2030.

The decarbonization of glass packaging also forms a key part of the UK government’s plan to reach net zero by 2050.

Ewan Andrew, President, Global Supply & Procurement and Chief Sustainability Officer at Diageo, said: 

“All renewable energy options are important to us and we’d like to see Government and industry further accelerating the direct supply of green energy as a mainstream option. Ultimately, we look forward to a world where people can enjoy their favourite drinks from zero carbon glass bottles.”

Under the new partnership, Encirc will build a new furnace at its Cheshire, UK-based Elton plant, by zero carbon electricity and hydrogen.

The furnace is expected to reduce overall carbon emissions by 90% through its use of both green electricity and low-carbon hydrogen, with any remaining emissions expected to be offset by 2030 through the use of carbon capture technology.

The furnace is expected to become fully operational by 2027.

Adrian Curry, Managing Director of Encirc, said: 

This will be a major step in our goal of producing net zero glass by 2030. With support from the Government and key partners, Encirc and Diageo we believe it will be possible to have this first of its kind furnace up and running at the beginning of 2027. Glass is an incredible material being infinitely recyclable and chemically inert. It has been around since 3500 BC and has never been produced in this way.”

The hydrogen for the furnace will be provided by Vertex Hydrogen, a partner of the UK government’s HyNet industrial decarbonization project.

Joe Seifert, CEO of Vertex Hydrogen, said: 

We are delighted to be supporting Encirc and Diageo with low carbon hydrogen as the UK continues to lead the world to deliver tangible decarbonisation at pace and scale.”

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