Dr Daniel Backhouse is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, working on the Enviroglass 2 Project under the supervision of Prof Paul Bingham. He completed his PhD, entitled ‘A Study of the Dissolution of Nuclear Waste Glasses in Highly-Alkaline Conditions’ with at the University of Sheffield, supervised by Prof Russell Hand, Dr Claire Corkhill and Prof Neil Hyatt. He then completed a 2-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the University of Sheffield and Superglass Insulation Ltd, looking at batch formulation modification, before joining Sheffield Hallam in October 2018.

Daniel Backhouse1*

Wei Deng1, Martyn Marshall2, Rob Ireson2, Paul A. Bingham1 1Materials and Engineering Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, UK 2Glass Technology Services Ltd., 9 Churchill Way, Chapeltown, Sheffield, S35 2PY, UK

Ash from the combustion of natural organic materials has been used in the production of glass for over a thousand years. A key example of this is the use of wood ashes as fluxes in glass-making in medieval Germany; known as Forest Glass or Waldglas [1]. Rich in potassium, these wood ashes enabled lower melting point glasses to be produced without the need for expensive minerals such as natron. However, the use of such raw materials in industry has not been common for hundreds of years, due to the wide availability of high-purity fluxes such as soda ash and limestone. In recent years, the drive towards lower CO2 emissions and lower costs in the industry has led to the exploration of alternatives to glass raw materials, particularly soda ash, which is an expensive carbonate material. In addition, the burgeoning of renewable energy has led to an increased use of biomass, such as wood materials, as a power source, providing a significant inventory of biomass ashes, both locally and globally. These factors have seen a growth in interest in the use of biomass ashes as raw materials for glass production, with worldwide research investigating a range of materials, e.g. rice straw ash and grass ash in south-east Asia [2, 3] and palm tree residue and palm leaf residue ashes in southern Europe [4]. We cover the history of biomass ash in glass-making, including a review of recent literature, and discuss two new projects, Enviroglass 2 (Innovate UK) and BiomAsh (BEIS), within this historical context.

[1] I. W. Donald, The Science and Technology of Inorganic Glasses and Glass-Ceramics: From the ancient to the present to the future, 1st Edition, Society of Glass Technology: Sheffield, 2016.

[2] Y. Ruangtaweep et al., Characterization of Rice Straw Ash and Utilization in Glass Production, Advanced Materials Research, 748 (2013), pp 304 – 308.

[3] N. Srisittipokakun, K. Kirdsiri and Y. Ruangtaweep, Utilization of Pennisetum purpureum ash for use in glass material, Advanced Materials Research, 770 (2013), pp 84 – 87.

[4] M. M. Jordan et al., First evaluation of vitrification capability of palm tree biomass wastes and sewage sludge, Materials Letters, 229 (2018), pp 71 – 73.