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Interventions in Glass Sector
Glass Sector
Molten glass being drawn out - pot furnace
A Gas fired pot furnace designed by TERI
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The TERI intervention in Firozabad glass industry cluster was initiated in 1994 as part of SDC’s (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) India programme in the energy sector. This aims to achieve savings in energy and consequently lead to carbon dioxide reductions in select energy intensive small scale industry sectors. During the initial two years, a detailed diagnostic study in various SSI (small scale industry) sectors was undertaken by TERI and Firozabad glass industry cluster was selected as one of the sectors for intervention. The selection was mainly on the basis of the tremendous scope for energy savings and pollution reduction that existed in the cluster. The project envisaged energy savings and pollution reduction in selected glass industry segments through fuel substitution and upgradation of the furnaces. This was to be achieved through a combination of applied research, technical support, capacity building, and awareness generation of the target groups.

Systemic Factors and Project Strategy

Molten glass being drawn out - pot furnace
A view of Gas fired muffle furanes

Although the initial interventions were planned considering coal, which was the dominant fuel in use at that time, the project had soon to change its focus—to develop only NG (natural gas) fired systems, as use of other fuels in the Taj Trapezium Zone was banned by the Supreme Court of India in response to a Public Interest Litigation for the protection of the Taj Mahal from environmental pollution. The Action Research phase of the project, which started in 1996, focused on ‘pot furnaces’, which are used for glass melting, and ‘muffle furnaces', colloquially called ‘pakai bhatties', that are used for bangle baking. The baseline study had indicated that both these categories of furnaces together accounted for about 2/3rd of total energy consumption in the cluster. The primary focus during this phase was to design and demonstrate energy efficient pot and muffle furnaces using natural gas as the fuel. Competence pooling and bottom-up participatory approach were the hallmarks of the action research phase. The process of technology development and demonstration involved close interaction between the TERI team, the local industry, and the international as well as the local consultants.

Firozabad shows the way: sustained uptake of energy efficient technology
TERI design system at S Rajeev Glass
In the earlier phase of the TERI-SDC partnership, project activities in the Firozabad glass industry cluster focused on strengthening the capacities of cluster-level service providers (local consultants, fabricators, masons, and so on). The aim was to enable entrepreneurs to adopt the energy efficient TERI-design pot furnace system without having to seek support from external agencies. This strategy, of setting in place cluster-level expertise for providing technical services and backup support, continues to serve as an example of how the uptake of clean, energy efficient technology can be promoted and sustained in the long term. Four more pot furnace units in Firozabad have installed TERI-design systems between February and May 2010, namely, Patel Glass Works, New Jain Enterprises, S Rajeev Glass Works, and Meera Glass Works. All four are open pot furnace units (12 pots each) that melt glass for making bangles. The TERI-design system incorporates a highly efficient heat recovery device called ‘modular recuperator’, which yields fuel savings of around 30% compared to the conventional gas-fired pot furnace. Meera Glass Works has installed the TERI-design furnace system for the first time while S Rajeev Glass Works already had one TERI-design system in operation. Both Patel Glass Works and New Jain Enterprises earlier operated conventional gas-fired pot furnaces coupled with locally designed, relatively less efficient ‘pipe recuperators’ for waste heat recovery.

Two more open pot furnace units are in the process of adopting TERI-design systems. They are (1) Liberty Glass Works, a 12-pot unit that produces bangles, and (2) Renu Glass Works, a 10-pot unit producing glass rods and hollow tubes for making beads. In addition, three other pot furnace units have committed to switching over to the TERIdesign recuperative system as soon as their existing conventional furnaces complete melting campaigns. One of these units has already initiated the procurement of materials for the new furnace system; it expects to commence furnace lining in June 2010.