Researchers at Penn State University have created what they’re calling LionGlass, a new type of glass that cuts the carbon footprint in half and increases the strength by ten fold. LionGlass cuts the carbon footprint in two ways: 1. It removes carbon containing ingredients that emit CO2 when heated, and 2. Significantly lowers the melting point of the new glass, requiring significantly less energy to make.
Soda lime silicate glass, the most commonly-used glass is made by melting three primary materials: quartz sand, soda ash and limestone. Soda ash is sodium carbonate, and limestone is calcium carbonate, both of which release carbon dioxide (CO2), as they are melted. The bulk of the CO2 emissions come from the energy required to heat furnaces to the high temperatures needed for melting glass. With LionGlass, the melting temperatures are lowered by about 300 to 400 degrees Celsius.
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Image: LionGlass sample. Adrienne Berard, Penn State University.