Encirc and Diageo turn to hydrogen to create net-zero glass bottles by 2030

Image: Diageo

Encirc will build new furnaces at its Elton plant in Cheshire that will utilise green electricity and low-carbon hydrogen that will help reduce emissions from glass bottle manufacturing by 90%.

The hydrogen will be supplied by Vertex Hydrogen, a partner of the government-backed HyNet North West cluster and when combined with carbon capture technology could deliver net-zero glass bottles by 2030.

The furnaces are expected to be fully operational by 2027 and will produce up to 200 million Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Gordon’s and Tanqueray bottles annually by 2030.

The two companies previously worked on a process that used waste-based biofuel-powered furnaces to reduce the carbon footprint of the bottle-making process by up to 90%. In total, 173,000 bottles were made using 100% recycled glass during a trial period.

Diageo committed to achieving net-zero operational emissions within a decade and to halving its indirect (Scope 3) emissions within the same timeframe, as part of a new ten-year strategy.

The 2030 strategy is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and commits Diageo to deliver a ‘Decade of Action’ on environmental sustainability, inclusion and diversity and responsible drinking.

Diageo’s chief sustainability officer Ewan Andrew said: “We are really excited to be a part of this world leading announcement which forms part of our commitment to halve our Scope 3 carbon emissions by 2030.

“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.”

On carbon, Diageo’s headline target is a commitment to achieve net-zero operational emissions through a mix of energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy procurement and generation.

Also included in the strategy is a commitment to halve indirect (Scope 3) emissions. Diageo will support smallholder farmers with training programmes on low-emission methods and trial regenerative farming practices – some of which purport to help land sequester more carbon than farming work emits.

Ten green bottles…

Encirc has worked with other beverage giants to help reduce emissions. Last year, it worked with Molson Coors, which owns brands such as Carling and Coors Light, to introduce low-carbon bottles across the UK.

Encirc manufacturers the bottles using up to 100% recycled or waste glass – called cullet. The process had previously used 75% recycled or waste content. Production is also powered by renewable energy and sustainable biofuels which has helped deliver a reduced carbon footprint for each bottle of up to 90%.

The bottle manufacturer has also worked with the likes of Carlsberg to reduce the carbon impact of their bottles.

The manufacturer is also part of Net Zero North West – a group of businesses backing a project to develop a “cluster plan” to prepare the North West and North East Wales to remove more than 40 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year and creating thousands of new jobs.

Encirc’s managing director Adrian Curry 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.”

Comments (1)

  1. Kim Warren says:

    Making this hydrogen means we have to produce more power – and until we are 100% nuclear/renewable, the only way to get more power is to burn more gas. And that uses *more* gas and makes more emissions than the gas burning it replaces. This will continue to be the case until well after 2030.
    EDIE – please get someone who really knows to check that this is correct. And if it is correct, stop pushing hydrogen use as emission-reducing.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie