An innovative sorting technology has allowed Veolia to begin providing Knauf Insultation with 80,000 tonnes per year of mixed glass to turn into roof insulation.
Veolia has invested £10 million in the facility in St Helens, Merseyside, that is located next to the Knauf Insultation manufacturing plant where glass products have been produced since 1773.
At the facility, it uses overband magnets, eddy current separators and organics separators like any glass sorting plant to remove ferrous, non-ferrous and organic materials.
However, Veolia has also introduced new infra red and x-ray fluorescence technology to remove ceramics, stones and porcelain contamination from the mixed glass.
This has led to Veolia achieving and exceeding the 98% purity specification required by Knauf Insulation to manufacture its fibreglass insulation.
Veolia is now providing 80% of the glass required by Knauf at this plant from household and commercial glass bottles.
Knauf Insultation managing director John Sinfield said: “We are the largest procurer of mixed cullet in the UK. One of the biggest challenges we faced was servicing the raw material supply we needed to manufacture our insulation material.
“We also faced the challenge that ceramics are a huge contamination issue for us as they don’t melt and block the holes on the spinners used to manufacture the insulation.
“It is amazing how Veolia sort the material so fast to remove the contaminants and provide security of supply.”
Veolia chief operating office Gavin Graveson added: “This has been a great partnership with Knauf Insultation.
“We are always looking for sustainable solutions. The mixed cullet was previously being used as an aggregate, but now we are providing Knauf with the security of supply it needs and gives us the security of an outlet for this material.”
The project has been four years in the making, with construction of the planet beginning in February 2017, and commissioning starting in October 2017.