Halve the carbon footprint of production thanks to eco-friendly glass. It is the bet won by researchers from Penn State, the state university of Pennsylvania. They invented a new type of glass that requires much less energy in the manufacturing process and is much more resistant to damage than ordinary soda lime silicate glass. The latter, in fact, is made by fusing three raw materials: quartz sand, sodium carbonate and limestone. Sodium carbonate and limestone (i.e. calcium carbonate), both release carbon dioxide when melting. In the process, the carbonates decompose into oxides and release CO2 into the atmosphere. Furthermore, a lot of energy is needed to power the furnaces that carry out the fusion itself. It is precisely in this passage that most of the environmental impact unfolds. To produce LionGlass, the glass invented by Penn State, the melting temperatures are lowered
about 300-400 degrees. This allows a reduction in energy consumption of approximately 30% compared to the traditional process.
Globally, the glass industry produces at least 86 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. The ecological glass from the US university could halve this impact, between energy saved in production and transport. Plus, the endurance is amazing. The glass did not break even when a force equal to one kilogram was applied to a diamond indenter. It means that LionGlass is 10 times more resistant to cracks than standard glass, which typically yields under a load of about one pound of force. The strength of this eco-friendly glass can enable the production of thinner and lighter objects. Another advantage, then, is that it would allow more to be transported and stored in the same spaces.