The Glass Art Society 2023 Journal, Published November 2, 2023.

Excerpt: “Green + Sustainability Panel,” pg. 86.

Moderator: Brian Frus, Panelists: Tyler Gordon, Min Haeng Kang, and Salime Harp Cruces.

“The annual Green + Sustainability Panel explores sustainable practices for the glass arts. Panelists each bring unique expertise and experiemce to the discussion. In Detroit, four panelists presented to a full room on curious glass artists. Brian Frus detailed how to save money by running a vegetable-oil-fueled studio. Tyler Gordon spoke about converting discarded window glass into 98 COE compatible cullet for glassblowing. Salime Harp Cruces showed us possibilities including: use of recycled glass, vegetable-oil burners, anaerobic digestion to generate methane gas as a fuel source, solar focusing to generate electrical power, and explorations into the usefulness of byproducts. Min Haeng Kang talked about utilizing recycles glass in her artistic practice, and embracing devitrification as an aesthetic opportunity in contemporary glassmaking. The following text offers more details recapping each presenter’s focus.

Brian Frus, Waterfall Arts | info@waterfallarts.org

Bio-fuel glassblowing was just a novel idea until we started doing it ourselves. Waterfall Arts in Belfast, Maine is currently the only public-access glassblowing studio in the United States running all glory holes 100% on vegetable oil. Brian Frus presented details about the system, including best practices and some important cost calculations. The bottom line is that a vegetable-oil system pays for itself in under one year of would-be fuel costs for propane or natural gas. The infrastructure is simple: basically a large plastic 275 gallon IBC Tote for oil storage, an oil pump, some oil filters sized 600, 200, and 100 micron, compressed air, supply lines, and a specialized oil burner from Organic Combustion Systems. Waterfall Arts partners with local restaurants who gladly donate waste oil to become creative fuel for glassblowers. Each vegetable-oil burner consumes about one gallon of oil per hour. Because the oil hold about 35% more BTU than propane, there are no problems getting HOT for glassblowing, and the oil is much safer than gas (no hazardous fumes and no possibility for explosion). “We realized the dream of greener glassblowing, forged new community partnerships, and found substantial cost savings in the process,” said Frus. The presentation was all about sharing what it really takes to build and run a bio-fuel studio. This information was presented with hopes that other studios will gain confidence to make the change to a more affordable and sustainable glassblowing future. Email info@waterfallarts.org for more information.”

To read the rest of this publication visit the Glass Arts Society Journal online.