SEFPRO focuses on future glassmaking with low-carbon furnace investment

January 5th, 2024

SEFPRO has invested in a new furnace as it prepares for low carbon glass manufacturing. The furnace will be by 20% hydrogen and reduce energy use for annealing by 65%.

SEFPRO's Cruciforms® brand has been a mainstay of refractories production for 50 years.
Since 1973, when production of the refractory began, the brand has been used in glassmaking furnaces around the world. Its Cruciforms® checkerpacks are installed in 20 furnace regenerators per year around the globe, and deliver huge energy savings as they help reduce natural gas consumption. 
To celebrate the golden anniversary of the brand the company took the opportunity to highlight an investment it will make as it prepares to face the challenges of the future.
At a recent open day at its historic site in Le Pontet, near Avignon, France, to celebrate the anniversary, participants had the opportunity to learn more about Cruciforms® production, their importance to the glass industry as well as what the future holds for the company as it adapts to low carbon refractory manufacturing.
SEFPRO has a rich history with Le Pontet. The site has been in existence since 1947 and before that, the ElectroRefractaire company was created in 1929 on the Modane site. It was the first factory in the world to produce fused cast refractory materials.

All the pictures from the 50th anniversary of the cruciforms at Le Pontet plant workshop
All the pictures from the 50th anniversary of the cruciforms at Le Pontet plant workshop thermal studies,



Construction of the furnace has already consumption of 3,000 households of four people for one year.
CO2, Scope1 & Scope 2 were reduced by 66% and non-recovered production waste by 84%.
It reduced water consumption by 25% on its most consuming site by installing closed loops for furnace cooling and by installing a new generation of equipment.
For the non-recovered waste, the begun and will be ready to start operations at Le Pontet in September next year.
This investment has a dual purpose: Not only will it increase the production capacity of Cruciforms® solution; it will also enable the company to develop and to test refractories for the new glass melting furnace designs of the future. This furnace will use up to 20% hydrogen instead of natural gas, which will enable energy savings using a new way for melting with decarbonised energy. In addition, the energy requirement for annealing will be reduced by 65% compared to current traditional furnaces.

Laurent Cohen-Scali was appointed CEO in September 2021. A key watchword for today is sustainable development, he states: “The glass industry is facing an exciting and crucial period, where innovation and transformation are more than ever necessary and possible.
“The transition to ‘all-electric’ or the use of alternative energy sources such as oxygen and hydrogen should not be a constraint but a real opportunity to radically transform the glass industry and make it more sustainable, efficient, and competitive.
“SEFPRO, as the leader in refractory solutions for the glass industry, is fully committed and geared to accompany this transformation. We are constantly developing new expertise and services to help our customers on that journey. Together with our customers, we shape a carbon neutral glass industry for a brighter future.”


Sustainable footprint

The company supports its customers throughout the whole lifecycle of the customers’ furnaces. This includes the definition of the initial investment, maintenance, hot and cold repair, dismantling at the end-of-life cycle and recycling of refractories.
In addition, SEFPRO is proactive within its own facilities and has reduced its own environmental footprint.
Taking the year 2017 as a basis, it achieved the following results in 2023:
Water withdrawal was reduced by 35%, namely the equivalent of the annual company reduced the quantity of materials to be used and developed the recycling – both internal and external - of by-products.
Again taking 2017 as a basis, its objectives to 2030 are clearly displayed inside the factory for all workers and stakeholders. The objectives are to reduce water withdrawal by 50%; CO2, Scope1 & Scope 2 by 75% and non recovered production waste by 90%.
Additional objectives have also been set to support their sustainable journey.
CO2, Scope 3 emissions will decrease by 16%. All its products will be covered by LCA / EPD (Life Cycle Analysis / Environmental Product Declaration); and it will use 100% recyclable packaging, with 30% of recycled or bio-sources contained. In terms of longer-term objectives, SEFPRO’s target is the same as the global target taken up by glass federations such as FEVE and Glass for Europe – to be climate neutral by 2050.

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