Melting glass requires considerable energy to reach the high temperatures required: over 1,500 degrees centigrade. This energy is generally obtained from fossil fuels, such as oil or natural gas, which produce the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming as they burn. However, the need to reduce the carbon footprint has rekindled interest in total or partial (hybrid) electric melting.
When this electricity comes from renewable sources, glass melting is essentially free of CO2 emissions and costs fall. In fact, even the smallest electric furnaces have thermal efficiency of between 70% and 85%, much higher than furnaces fuelled with fossil fuels. The glass melting furnaces of the future will use a higher percentage of clean renewable electric energy.