On Friday, January 22, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a partnership between the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), to develop innovative methods to recycle glass.
The collaboration between our University and the DEC will be funded by a three-year $1.7 million grant from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund. This will be the first major initiative of Alfred University’s Center for Glass Innovation (CGI). The CGI, the first center of its kind in the nation, was established at Alfred University last year under the leadership of Dr. Gabrielle Gaustad ’04, dean of our Inamori School of Engineering.
One emphasis of the CGI is to create energy efficient processes that shrink the glass manufacturing industry’s carbon footprint. Our collaboration with the DEC will do just that. Research will discover ways that the glass manufactured in New York State can be recycled versus go into landfills.
Alfred University is uniquely equipped to take on this challenge. The glass science program in our Inamori School of Engineering is the only one in the nation offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in Glass Science Engineering. Our faculty and students will lead research efforts at the CGI and work directly with private sector glass manufacturers across New York—including Corning Incorporated, Guardian Glass, Anchor Glass, Tesla/SolarCity, Monofrax, St. Gobain, Owens-Illinois, Corelle Brands, Hillcrest Industries, and Andella Glass—as well as the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council. The Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT) at Alfred University—one of 15 NYSTAR Centers for Advanced Technology (CAT) in New York State—will facilitate and support research partnerships between the CGI and the private sector.
Additional efforts to help manufacturers reduce glass waste are underway. Alfred University is collaborating with Hillcrest Industries, of Attica, NY, a leading producer of glass microbeads used for reflective road marking, to develop a process that will increase Hillcrest’s recycling efficiency. The project—funded by a $50,000 FuzeHub grant awarded to Alfred University glass science professors Alexis Clare and William LaCourse—will permit Hillcrest to recycle its glass powder waste by reprocessing it into a dense solid glass. The recycled glass will be used to make reflective glass beads as well as a wide range of other innovative products.
Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address discussed the need to build a green energy economy in New York State. Through the new partnership between our Center for Glass Innovation and the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, Alfred University is poised to play a significant role in achieving that goal.