475416 Life Cycle Assessment of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Processes

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Cher Kian Lee, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore, Hsien Hui Khoo, Institute of Chemical & Engineering Sciences, Singapore and Reginald B.H. Tan, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The National University of Singapore, Singapore

Continuous processing, as a form of process intensification, is one of the keys of green engineering research and development in the pharmaceutical industry. It has the potential to reduce solvent use and cost of production as well as increase production quality and operational safety. The goal of this work was to identify environmental hotspots, quantify and compare the differences in environmental burdens between batch and continuous manufacturing processes. A comparative cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment between the batch and continuous manufacturing processes of 4-D-Erythronolactone at pilot plant scale is presented as a case study. The assessment begins with defining the scope, the system boundaries, and functional unit. The system boundaries include from raw material extraction, transportation, the manufacturing process, equipment cleaning, facility requirements (lighting and heat, ventilation and air-conditioning) and waste incineration. Two other waste handling options (wastewater treatment and solvent recovery) are investigated as they are common operations employed by the pharmaceutical industry to treat waste. As part of a modular approach to obtain life cycle inventory data, each manufacturing system was part of a theoretical production campaign to fulfil the functional unit. A variety of methods such as kinetic and reactor modelling, input-allocation inventory models is used to fill data gaps.

For the case study, environmental hotspots of the batch system were centered on the production of inputs, washing activities and waste disposal. The adoption of continuous processing from batch manufacturing produced an overall reduction in impacts. With continuous processing, less solvents were used in washing and it translated to reduced impacts from washing and waste disposal. However, more energy was required for continuous processing due to the use of less concentrated starting materials. This case study provided insights into the life cycle impacts of batch and continuous manufacturing processes and helped develop a modular approach to compare the two manufacturing systems.

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See more of this Session: Poster Session: Sustainability and Sustainable Biorefineries
See more of this Group/Topical: Sustainable Engineering Forum