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Energy Conservation in Pharmaceutical API Manufacturing

NL-stock2-enviroNeuland’s Technology Transfer team wrote a piece that was published back in 2011 in Pharmaceutical Technology on the topic of pharma manufacturing and energy efficiency. Since its publication, the issue of efficient manufacturing has come to play a much more substantial role in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Though the piece was from 2011, the energy saving recommendations are perfectly relevant today (and, I imagine, will remain so for quite a while).

Energy Use a Growing Concern in the C-Suite
In spite of the United States’ emergence as a potential OPEC-replacement nation, energy conservation has become a prominent consideration in drug development & production. The reason: an increasing awareness that energy is subject to substantial price volatility, both now and – especially – in the future. With 20 year lifecycles, pharma is attempting to minimize the impact of shifting energy economics on drug production.

Are Your Fans Aerodynamic?
Across pharma facilities, there are a number of areas where energy use has an impact. A key location? Up on the roof. The proper aerodynamic profile of cooling tower fan blades can yield fan energy savings of 30% with a payback period measured in months!

Here are three more drug production equipment efficiency recommendations from the article:

Electric motors drive almost every piece of machinery in a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, including reactors, dryers, centrifuges, blowers and more. It’s a common practice to have burnt-out motors rewound, without any thought to energy efficiency and electricity consumption. Rewound or repaired motors often consume energy at much higher rates – and can quickly negate the replacement cost savings.

Steam Traps
Steam accounts for about 60% of the thermal energy used in pharma manufacturing process heating, and it offers multiple opportunities for efficiency improvement. All steam traps (high, medium or low pressure) should be inspected and maintained to eliminate steam leakage. This can provide potential savings of 10-15%.

Agitators, a key process technology used in virtually every pharma and biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in the world, are an example of equipment and technology that have undergone tremendous advances. Today’s machines can deliver comparable performance with much lower energy consumption.

Read the article at Pharmaceutical Technology.


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