The Foamglas plant in Tessenderlo, Belgium already used a large share of renewable energy with wind turbines and solar panels installed on site. However, intermittent supply threatened to disrupt production.
The proposal from REstore (now part of Centrica Business Solutions), was to switch off the plant’s glass smelter electrodes. This was initially received with apprehension by Foamglas management.
However, the fact that Demand Side Response (DSR) ensures any switch off decision is subject to a set of tight boundary conditions, gained positive support. Foamglas’ glass smelters are well-insulated ovens that benefit from a large thermal inertia. They can be easily disconnected and reconnected provided the molten glass remains above a set temperature. If the temperature drops too low, the curtailment is interrupted automatically, and the electrodes reactivated to reheat the furnace.
Centrica Business Solution’s seamless automation technology makes the whole operation no-risk and requires very little extra supervision from the Foamglas plant operators. Production is no longer threatened.
In addition, to avoid the risk of penalties Foamglas also participates in a portfolio with other industrial consumers. This effectively acts as a shield: when the glass smelter needs to be reactivated, another provider can take over and deliver the necessary power to the grid operator.
The project helps Foamglas meet its sustainability commitments. DSR means Foamglas can integrate renewable energy safely into the grid. This allows the business to play an active role in reducing the risk of blackouts during the winter in Belgium when regional peak power demand might not be covered by the available supply.
We participate in Demand Side Response programmes to contribute to a more sustainable society.”
Spokesperson, Pittsburgh Corning (parent company of Foamglas)
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