The company Glassomer from Baden-Württemberg was awarded the Environmental Technology Prize 2023 for its innovative glass molding process. Instead of melting glass at over 1,800 degrees Celsius, as is usually the case, it is formed at just 130 degrees Celsius using injection molding technology.
According to Prof. Dr. Bastian E. Rapp from the University of Freiburg, co-founder of Glassomer, the process known as “Glassomer” requires up to 60 percent less energy. It makes glass available in almost any shape without melting and post-processing.
The starting material for the process is glass residue from fiberglass production. The result is high-purity quartz glass, which is superior to conventional glass in terms of heat and chemical resistance. Glassomer uses it to produce prototypes and small batches of optical components.
Glassomer is a young company with roots at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Freiburg. According to Managing Director Dorothea Helmer, the cost-effective process opens up completely new fields of application for quartz glass. It conserves resources and does not require any toxic chemicals. Glassomer specializes in the production of technical and optical components made from high-purity glass, such as lenses, lens arrays and microfluidic chips, as well as glass 3D printing.
Every two years, the Innovation Award of the state of Baden-Württemberg honors outstanding developments in environmental technology. Glassomer received it for its contribution to energy and material efficiency.