Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Energy-Efficient Glass Melting(ST7784-1)

Gas Technology Institute


The domestic glass industry is burdened with high capital and energy costs. Led by Corning Incorporated, the many glass companies on this project team all recognize that a new, lower-cost and more energy efficient melting technology is necessary for the glass industry to survive and grow against competition from alternative materials and international producers. The Glass Manufacturers Industry Council (GMIC), NYSERDA, and DOE share this vision and have supported this project to develop a Next Generation Melting System (NGMS). This project takes the first bold step in the direction of this challenge, a step emphasized in the DOE’s 2002 Glass Industry Technology Roadmap. Four of the Roadmap’s Strategic Goals (20 percent cost reduction, 6 sigma glass quality, 50 percent reduction between actual and theoretical energy use, and 20 percent reduction in air emissions) are met with an NGMS based on oxy-gas-fired submerged combustion melting (SCM). While air-gas-fired SCM systems are commercially available, oxy-gas-fired SCM systems are new technology. A potentially complementary technology to SCM is the Batch Cullet Preheater (BCP) technology developed by Praxair at itsTonawanda, NY facility. Praxair will evaluate the feasibility of combining SCM and BCP to further reduce energy use in the NGMS.

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Project Description

In Phase 1, this project demonstrated oxy-gas-fired SCM and validated this technology as the melting and homogenization step of the NGMS process. Work in this three-year Phase 1 effort included: o Year 1 – Design of a 500 to 1,000 lb/h pilot-scale melter, initial CFD modeling of the melter, and initial physical modeling of NGMS including batch-cullet preheating. o Year 2 – Fabrication, shake-down and initial glass melting in the pilot-scale melter at GTI; initial glass quality analyses; and continued physical modeling of full NGMS process. o Year 3 – Continued melting of major commercial glass formulations with long-term testing; glass quality analyses; completion of testing-validated CFD melter model; final physical modeling of NGMS; and commercialization plan including commercialization plans for some glasses (fiberglass, etc.) and for a Phase 2 rapid refining project for other glasses. In Phase 2, this project will undertake numerous tests of rapid refining, or glass conditioning, techniques based on controlled temperature and short residence time conditioning methods. In addition, engineering plans for an NGMS process to recycle scrap fiberglass at the Owens Corning plant in Delmar, NY will be prepared.


The large benefits of NGMS compared with current melting systems include: o A 23 percent reduction in gas and oxygen use (equal to a 50 percent decrease in the gap between actual and theoretical fuel and oxygen use) o A capital cost savings of 55 percent for the melting system resulting in a 25 percent savings in production cost (capital, labor, and energy) o Air emissions reduction of 23 percent with NOx emissions lowered over 50 percent to under 0.35 lb/ton o A reduction in refractory use by over 80 percent since melter walls are fluid cooled panels The ultimate New York benefits from this project will be the new global business opportunities for the Praxair plant in Tonawanda associated with the SCM technology, and the number of existing or new glass melting facilities in the State that use this new melting system.

Project Results


Gas Technology Institute
39971 Treasury Center
Chicago, IL 60694

Principle Investigator

David Rue

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Industrial Products

NYSERDA Contact Information

Ashley Cox


Strategic Operations

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST7784-1

Last Updated: 4/30/2012