Ardagh and Absolut Vodka co-invest in hydrogen-fired glass furnace

Ardagh Group S.A. and Absolut Vodka’s latest collaboration will enable the global spirits brand to become the first to move to a partly hydrogen energy-fired glass furnace for large-scale production, in a significant step to reduce the CO2 emissions from making its iconic bottles.

The hydrogen initiative is an important milestone for Absolut Vodka in becoming completely CO2 neutral by 2030. A prerequisite for being able to meet this goal is in reducing the carbon footprint of its glass packaging.

Ardagh Glass Packaging in Limmared, a subsidiary of Ardagh Group, has signed an agreement with Absolut Vodka, to use this partly hydrogen-fired furnace commencing in the second half of 2023. The pioneering collaboration will accelerate the transformation of the global glassmaking process for a more sustainable future.

Ardagh’s Limmared glass production facility in Sweden has been a partner with Absolut for 40 years and currently uses a combination of natural gas and electricity to power its furnaces. From the second half of 2023, Ardagh will launch a pilot in Limmared replacing 20% of its natural gas with green hydrogen to manufacture all of Absolut’s bottles across its portfolio. This means a full-scale change of the continuous production of Absolut bottles for all markets globally. The hydrogen will be produced onsite at Ardagh by using renewably sourced electricity.

An industry-wide quest for reducing climate impact is taking place. Combined with other innovations and sustainability initiatives, new technologies such as hydrogen-fired furnaces will reduce carbon emissions from glass production significantly.

The use of hydrogen would reduce Absolut Vodka’s carbon footprint from glass by 20%. It follows other joint initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, such as the light-weighting of glass, increased use of electricity in the current furnace and a significant increase in recycled flint glass – today reaching 53% with the ambition to go even further.

Absolut owns one of the world’s most energy-efficient distilleries. It has 98% fewer emissions than an average distillery and has built up a surplus of emission rights as a result. The intent is to use these to invest in green transformation. Absolut will support Ardagh in this project and the parties will work together to fulfill Absolut’s ambitions of a CO2 neutral product by 2030, by using today’s and tomorrow’s best available technologies in glass manufacturing.

Bo Nilsson, Managing Director of Ardagh Glass Limmared AB, says: “Our industry needs to be less reliant on fossil fuels and transition at pace to using more green energy. By investing in this new technology, we are embarking on a journey to reduce the carbon footprint of our glass packaging. There are challenges with such innovation, but we are committed to being an early mover in future-proofing our glass manufacturing operations world-wide.”

Stéphanie Durroux, Chief Executive of The Absolut Company, says: “Given we’ve been investing in our own production for decades, decreasing our emissions and increasing energy efficiency, we’re now in a position where we also can focus on the parts of our value chain that are outside of our own scope. The glass manufacturing industry is in a transformative journey, and the world can’t wait for the perfect solution. A bold and innovative approach is needed to accelerate radical change that will help solve the significant sustainability challenges that all glassmakers and buyers of glass face.”

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