The World Bank

The World Bank

Glass Manufacturing Industry - Pollution Prevention Guidelines


Courtesy of The World Bank


Pollution Prevention Guidelines to provide technical advice and guidance to staff and consultants involved in pollution-related projects. The guidelines represent state-of-the-art thinking on how to reduce pollution emissions from the production process. In many cases, the guidelines provide numerical targets for reducing pollution, as well as maximum emissions levels that are normally achievable through a combination of cleaner production and end-of-pipe treatment. The guidelines are designed to protect human health; reduce mass loadings to the environment; draw on commercially proven technologies; be cost-effective; follow current regulatory trends; and promote good industrial practices, which offer greater productivity and increased energy efficiency.

Table of Contents

  • Industry Description and Practices
  • Waste Characteristics
  • Pollution Prevention and Control
  • Target Pollution Loads
  • Treatment Technologies
  • Emissions Guidelines
  • Monitoring and Reporting
  • Key Issues
  • Sources

Industry Description and Practices

This document describes the manufacture of flat glass and pressed and blown glass. Flat glass includes plate and architectural glass, automotive windscreens, and mirrors. Pressed and blown glass includes containers, machine-blown and hand-blown glassware, lamps, and television tubing. In both categories, a glass melt is prepared from silica sand, other raw materials such as lime, dolomite, and soda, and cullet (broken glass). The use of recycled glass is increasing. It reduces the consumption of both raw materials and energy but necessitates extensive sorting and cleaning prior to batch treatment to remove impurities.

For the manufacture of special and technical glass, lead oxide, potash, zinc oxide, and other metal oxides are added. Refining agents include arsenic trioxide, antimony oxide, nitrates, and sulfates. Metal oxides and sulfides are used as coloring or decoloring agents.

The most common furnace used for manufacturing glass melt is the continuous regenerative type, with either the side or the end ports connecting brick checkers to the inside of the melter. Checkers conserve fuel by acting as heat exchangers; the fuel combustion products heat incoming combustion air. The molten glass is refined (heat conditioning) and is then pressed, blown, drawn, rolled, or floated, depending on the final product.

Damaged and broken product (cullet) is returned to the process. The most important fuels for glass-melting furnaces are natural gas, light and heavy fuel oil, and liquefied petroleum gas. Electricity frequently installed as supplementary heating) is also used. Energy requirements range from 3.7 to 6.0 kilojoules per metric ton (kJ/t) glass produced.

Waste Characteristics

Two types of air emissions are generated: those from the combustion of fuel for operating the glass-melting furnaces, and fine particulates from the vaporization and recrystallization of materials in the melt. The main emissions are sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulates, which can contain heavy metals such as arsenic and lead. Particulates from lead crystal manufacture can have a lead content of 20–60% and an arsenic content of 0.5–2%. Certain specialty glasses can produce releases of hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride (HF), arsenic, boron, and lead from raw materials. Container, pressing, and blowing operations produce a periodic mist when the hot gob comes into contact with the release agent used on the molds.

Cold-top electric furnaces, in which the melt surface is covered by raw material feed, release very little particulate matter, as the blanket acts as a filter to prevent the release of particulate matter. Some releases of particulates will take place in tapping, but furnace releases should be of the order of 0.1 kilogram per ton (kg/t) when operated this way. Lead glass manufacture may result in lead emissions of about 2–5 kg/t. In all cases, the concentration of heavy metals and other pollutants in the raw flue gas mainly depends on the type of fuel used, the composition of the feed material, and the portion of recycled glass. High input of sulfates or potassium nitrate may increase emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, respectively. Where nitrate is used, more than two thirds of the introduced nitrogen may be emitted as nitrogen oxides. The use of heavy metals as coloring or decoloring agents will increase emissions of these metals.

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