Biomass Ash: A past and present raw material for glassmaking?
Tuesday 17th September 12:45 - 13:05
Biomass ashes have been used in the production of glass for over 1000 years, e.g. the use of wood ash in the production of Waldglas (Forest Glass) in medieval Germany. Potassium-rich ashes enabled production of lower melting point glasses without the use of expensive minerals, e.g. natron. However, use of biomass ashes has not been common in industry for centuries due to the availability of high-purity fluxes. Recent drives to reduce CO2 emissions and costs in industry have led to the exploration of alternatives to current raw materials. Concurrently, the expansion of renewable energy has led to increased combustion of biomass and thus a significant inventory of biomass ashes. These factors have led to increased interest in the use of biomass ashes in glass production, with worldwide research on a range of materials, e.g. rice straw ash and palm residue ashes. We cover the history of biomass ash in glass-making and discuss two new projects, Enviroglass 2 and BiomAsh, within this historical context.
Speaker: Dr. Daniel J. Backhouse, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University