Energy Scenario In Pharmaceutical Industry

<p style="text-align: justify;">Energy efficiency becomes the need of the hour. The pharmaceutical industry is incredibly energy intensive as it needs to maintain critical environments for production in terms of temperature, humidity, room pressurization, cleanliness, and containment.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Energy Consumption</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Unlike others in the commercial sectors, most energy consumption in pharmaceutical manufacturing arises from the systems that support processes like heating and cooling, apart from the process itself. In pharmaceutical operations, utilities are major energy-intensive equipment, and energy consumption in the utility's equipment (refrigeration plants, pumps, fans, and air compressors) ranges from 50-60% of the overall electrical consumption.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Other equipment like production (reactors, centrifuges, and vacuum pumps) has a 15-25% share, effluent treatment (effluent transfer pumps and CTs) has a share of 10-15%, solvent recovery systems have 5-10%, and miscellaneous (lighting and raw power) contribute &lt;5% share in overall electrical energy consumption.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In thermal energy consumption, process support activities like effluent treatment systems have a share of 30-40%, solvent recovery has 15-25%, and process heating and miscellaneous has a share of 20-30% in the total thermal energy consumption.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Sustainability in Pharmaceutical Industry</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Due to the highly competitive marketplace, pharmaceutical manufacturers understand that improving efficiency plays a big part in reducing operating costs for pharma. It also increases predictable earnings. In addition, sustainability as a concept was gaining good traction across pharmaceutical industries, globally and in India.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Be it reducing energy consumption or emission of greenhouse gases to curb environmental pollution, improving waste management, or optimizing water consumption, the pharma industry was identifying and implementing various measures to become more sustainable.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">They emphasized that one of the most effective approaches for reducing operating costs and meeting sustainability goals is improving energy efficiency in pharmaceutical operations. As a result, pharmaceutical industries are looking for more advanced energy management solutions, including everything from alternative fuel and energy supply options to on-site generation.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">But, before jumping to install the latest energy technologies, it is essential for pharmaceutical companies to understand and manage current energy consumption so they can implement the energy-saving solutions that best complement operations and goals.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Understanding current energy consumption begins with smarter data collection and analysis. The lack of real-time energy consumption data has previously impacted the industry's ability to implement strategic energy management initiatives.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Progressive pharmaceutical companies are shifting their focus simply by monitoring the efficiency of their energy-drawing machines. A thorough analysis of energy consumption data allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to identify new ways to reduce day-to-day energy use &ndash; and waste &ndash; thereby boosting efficiencies and their bottom line.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Measures taken by Pharmaceutical Companies</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Pharmaceutical companies are maximizing their operations, improving quality, and shortening production time by using the power of data. They have reduced their production times from weeks to days and, in some instances, just a few hours.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Furthermore, on the utility side, since heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems run non-stop, it is important to monitor efficiency 24/7. Installing flow meters, power meters, temperature, and relative humidity sensors will improve real-time control decisions, reporting on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and measurement and verification.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Installing automatic energy management systems provides a centralized view of the HVAC system, allowing companies to track performance, identify trends, and highlight potential problem areas. For example, automatically resetting the supply air temperature on the cleanroom AHU will reduce simultaneous heating and cooling while allowing the system to reset chilled water and hot water temperatures.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">An automated system can also control condenser water pumps, cooling towers, and chillers based on their relationship to one another. The result is an opportunity to reduce the facility's energy bills by more than 20%.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The availability of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) made capturing and monitoring data easy. Measurement and monitoring of the operation of remotely located equipment monitored through these technologies.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In addition, data analytics will provide further insights into the equipment's processes and energy conservation opportunities. Presently pharmaceutical industries are using these technologies to monitor the regular consumption of equipment and taking the right decisions to optimize energy consumption.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Predictive Maintenance</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">In addition, predictive maintenance adopted by pharmaceutical plants is the best way to keep machines and equipment sets running smoothly and efficiently. Predictive maintenance is a data-driven approach that collects and analyses machine health and performance data to predict when an asset will fail. It helps pharmaceutical companies avoid costly downtime and ensure that the machinery is operating at peak performance, to maintain their competitive edge.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Unplanned downtime causes delays and customer loss for organizations, thereby hitting their bottom line with the rising demand for efficiency and quality in production and manufacturing operations. To automate the plant processes, the pharmaceutical industry steered towards predictive maintenance for reliability, asset maintenance, and management. There are more advantages to investing in predictive maintenance, such as reduced production costs and increased safety for workers.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The cost to manufacture and distribute pharmaceutical products will continue to increase with the ever-rising energy cost. Changing how energy is managed across an organization can improve process efficiency, product quality, and production rates and achieve cost savings of up to 30%.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Energy efficiency, real-time data analysis, and predictive maintenance have become important strategies for successful business operations and increased stakeholder confidence.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Considering the ever-increasing prices of conventional energy sources and strict enforcement of environmental legislation, the pharmaceutical sector needs to look for alternatives like energy conservation and renewable energy sources for price-competitive and sustainable growth. Once optimum energy efficiency is achieved, pharma manufacturers should evaluate renewable energy solutions to reduce costs further.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="linkedin.com/in/suresh-raman-18888a19">Raman Suresh</a></em></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Raman Suresh</span></h3><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. How can we conserve energy in the pharmaceutical industry?</span></h2><p>Energy conservation has become the need of the hour. Depletion of natural resources on one side and increasing climate change on another side, giving alerts to improve the efficiency and optimize the consumption of fossil fuels. Energy conservation reduces the use of energy input for required services and hence cuts down the energy costs and helps to meet the environmental legislations.&nbsp;</p><p>In this scenario, energy conservation has become a key focus point for reducing energy costs, thereby reducing the operational/manufacturing costs to increase the profitability of the business. Energy conservation has many individual and social benefits, such as reduced energy bills, meeting environmental legislations, economic and environmental improvement, and sustainable growth.</p><p>In today's scenario in pharmaceuticals, energy conservation is treated as the least expensive energy procurement/generation and given high priority for reducing operational costs.</p><p>Key focus areas for improving energy conservation in Pharmaceutical :</p><ul><li style="list-style-type: none;"><ul><li>Optimizing the operations</li><li>New and innovative technology interventions</li><li>Automation</li><li>Data monitoring and analytics</li></ul></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Optimizing the Operations</strong></p><p>In any industry, this becomes the most prominent focus area. Based on experiences, it was found that about 40% of the equipment was either undersized or oversized. This happens due to wrong design, changing requirements, oversight of the operating personnel, future expansion considerations, or safety or comfortable operations considerations. Correct sizing of equipment or operations or both will lead to significant fuel or energy savings in the facility.</p><p>Motors, pumping systems, air compressors, etc have good energy savings potential by optimizing the sizes of these equipment as per the requirement. Proper selection, retrofitting, and optimum design will avoid the under-sizing or over-sizing of equipment.</p><p>Changes in processes or requirements or both will also lead to sometimes oversizing/under sizing equipment. This happens mainly in process industries where it demands process variations or batch processes and leads to incorrect equipment operations. Proper planning and dedicated equipment for each process will avoid these underutilized or overutilized operations and will have a good impact on energy consumption.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>New Technology Interventions</strong></p><p>Although this intervention requires initial investments, few technologies are giving attractive paybacks for the investments done. All product manufacturers are putting high efforts through increased research for product up-gradation or bringing new energy-efficient technologies into the market.&nbsp;</p><p>Products like premium energy efficiency motors, super low loss transformers, turbo core chillers, heat recovery wheels, etc., are potential energy conservation technology interventions with attractive payback for additional investments.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Automation</strong></p><p>In any process industry, automation is the best strategy for reducing energy consumption. Incubation of automation in operations may lead to reduced energy consumption. Manual operations involve errors or wrong presumptions, wherein automation will avoid manual errors. Thereby excess energy consumption in the operations will be reduced.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Data Monitoring and Analytics</strong></p><p>The availability of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) made capturing and monitoring data easy. Measurement and monitoring of the operation of remotely located equipment can be done by availing of these technologies.&nbsp;</p><p>In addition, data analytics will provide further insights into the equipment's operations and energy conservation opportunities. Presently many industries are using these technologies to monitor the regular consumption of equipment and make the right decisions to optimize energy consumption.</p><p>Considering the ever-increasing prices of conventional energy sources and strict enforcement of environmental legislation, the industrial sector must look for alternatives like energy conservation and renewable energy sources for price-competitive and sustainable growth.&nbsp;<br />Energy conservation has become one more strategy for successful business operations and increased stakeholder confidence.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What are three alternative energy technologies?</span></h2><p>Three alternative energy technologies:</p><p>Renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, Biomass, and geothermal energies are also helping all consumers to reduce the consumption of conventional energy resources and reduce carbon emissions into the environment.</p><p>Though renewable energy sources are abundant, free of cost, and green sources, they become unviable due to reliability, high capital costs, geographical limitations etc.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. How can technology be used to reduce energy consumption?</span></h2><p>With the right technology and a robust monitoring system, energy efficiency and energy consumption reduction can be achieved. The use of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and the digitalization of operations for online measurement and monitoring will provide insights into equipment performance and operational efficiency. This will lead to appropriate/corrective decisions to avoid losses or lower energy consumption.&nbsp;</p><p>In addition, technological innovations make the equipment/products available at lower energy consumption designs than earlier. For instance, advancements in motors from energy efficient to super premium energy efficient motors and compressors to ultra-efficient turbo core compressors enable reducing energy consumption with the same quantum of output.</p><p>Continuous or simple automation, like lowering the idle running time of equipment during non-productive hours/business hours by auto switching off the equipment, will lower energy consumption. Hence, upgrading the technologies, automation, and installing online monitoring systems will boost operational efficiencies and reduce energy consumption.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. What are energy-efficient technologies?</span></h2><p>The following are the latest energy-efficient technologies in pharmaceutical industries:</p><ul><li style="list-style-type: none;"><ul><li>Installation of centrifugal /screw compressors in refrigeration systems</li><li>Low-friction synthetic oils in compressors</li><li>High Energy Efficient EC/Axial flow fans for AHUs</li><li>Heat pumps for simultaneous generation of heating and Cooling</li><li>Energy-efficient epoxy coated Aluminium fans in CTs</li><li>Super-energy efficient fans in blower/general applications</li><li>Super premium IE4/IE3 energy efficient motors</li><li>Micro Steam Turbine for low steam pressure applications</li><li>VFDs for fans, pumps, and reactors for load optimizations</li><li>Light pipe and heat-resistant paint for energy conservation</li><li>Air booster for Compressed Air Lines</li><li>Auto Damper Control in AHUs and VFDs for blowers</li><li>No Air Loss Drain (NAD) traps for Air Compressors</li><li>Vertical Inline Pumps in Pumping Systems</li><li>Auto Tube Cleaning Systems</li><li>Side Stream Filtration system</li><li>Online Energy Monitoring Systems</li><li>Energy Efficient LED Lighting Systems with controls</li><li>Heat recovery systems in refrigeration and Air Compressors</li></ul></li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Raman Suresh

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