A proposed £54million Global Centre of Excellence for glass research has taken a step nearer to becoming reality with the submission of a formal planning application for the 160,000 sqft St Helens site.

The Centre of Excellence, developed for Glass Futures, will be the world’s first openly accessible, multi-disciplinary experimental glass melting facility for research and development trials. It will be capable of producing 30 tonnes of sustainable glass a day which will be used in products such as windows, doors, jars, bottles and glass fibre.

It will be used to deliver industry and government backed R&D projects aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of glass production and will provide a platform for industry to test and trial their own ideas, both collaboratively and individually.

Glass Futures chief executive, Richard Katz, said: “The planning submission is a great step forward in creating a facility that will deliver innovative technologies to make glass net zero. The Centre of Excellence will help us work collaboratively with our members, the supply chain and academia to achieve that aim.”

The facility is being funded through a mix of public and private investment http://www.the-glazine.com/?p=1299 . Landowner and developer Network Space, will secure private sector investment to support the construction costs alongside a £9m grant from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Glass sector companies will also contribute a further £20m in resource, time and equipment to support the project. 

Catherine Chilvers, development director at Network Space, said: “The submitted planning proposals will regenerate the former United Glassworks site and enable Government and industry led research activity and training opportunities. The facility will create new jobs and support the transition of R&D to commercial applications, acting as a catalyst for further economic growth within St Helens.”