Air Products Brasil has built, placed on-stream, and is operating an air separation plant to provide gases to a new float glass manufacturing plant in Tatui, São Paulo, Brazil.

Parent company Air Products made the announcement, with the new ASU set to provide nitrogen and oxygen for Guardian Industries’ new float glass production plant.

Air Products Brasil is also to supply hydrogen via an on-site plant, and a Cleanfire® HRi burner system for Guardian’s new float glass line.

The company’s construction of an ASU to produce nitrogen and oxygen is part of a bundled product offering for Guardian Tatui, with Air Products Brasil also operating an on-site steam methane reformer (SMR) to produce hydrogen for the Guardian facility.

Bob Lewis, Global Marketing Manager for Generated Gases at Air Products, explained, “We were able to demonstrate that significant operational benefits, specifically fuel savings, can be achieved with the grouped offering we presented to Guardian.”

“The combination of our technologies and reliable supply of essential industrial gases can provide Guardian with the most efficient way, both operationally and environmentally, to produce float glass from its new production line. These technologies can continue to provide benefits in the future, as higher fuel and energy costs are anticipated.”

Lewis added that the Guardian relationship continues to grow Air Products’ presence and investment in meeting growing industrial gas needs in Brazil.

Air Products’ on-site hydrogen product offerings were enhanced in 2008 by the acquisition of Harvest Energy Technology and its novel and patented SMR technology. Furthermore, Air Products’ Cleanfire HRi burner advanced oxy-fuel boost application has been integrated into Guardian’s new glass production plant.

Improved glass quality
Float glass is produced by floating a continuous stream of molten glass onto a bath of molten tin.

The molten glass spreads onto the surface of the metal and produces a high quality, consistently level sheet of glass that is later heat polished. The glass has no wave or distortion and is now the standard method for glass production.

When introduced correctly, industrial grade oxygen used to displace combustion air in the manufacturing process can significantly improve heat transfer to the glass batch and glass bath.

The Cleanfire HRi burner’s advanced oxy-fuel boost application offers several unique benefits to glass production. Kevin Lievre, Global Glass Segment Market Manager at Air Products, discusses these benefits, “This technology delivers higher efficiency melting that reduces the amount of fuel consumed to produce each ton of glass. It also reduces the amount of pollutant emissions by delivering a flat flame geometry that incorporates oxygen staging technology.”

“Customers using this Cleanfire application can expect to increase glass quality, boost production, and decrease emissions of NOx, SOx, CO2, and particulate matter.”

Over 90% of the world production of flat glass is float glass, which can be cut and fitted directly to frames or custom tabletops for making modern windows, or used as raw material in processes such as glass tempering, lamination, and manufacture of mirrors and solar panels.