Innovation and sustainability in the pharmaceutical industry

Published: 2-Feb-2024

GEA Pharma & Healthcare places a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation to drive positive change within the organisation and the industry as a whole

Sustainability in the pharmaceutical industry is important for several reasons. Manufacturing drugs can have a significant environmental footprint owing to resource consumption, waste generation and the emissions associated with production, packaging and distribution. The greater life science sector’s desire to embrace more planet-friendly practices will help the entire value chain to tackle pollution, climate change and resource depletion.

The GEA approach

By using more renewable power, boosting its energy efficiency and reducing emissions, GEA is prioritising its environmental roadmap and further developing sustainable solutions for companies working in multiple sectors, including food, beverage and the pharmaceutical industry.

This commitment to sustainability underpins GEA Group’s foundations of enhancing its internal operations, empowering customer objectives and nurturing communities on a carbon-neutral trajectory. The company has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its own operations (Scopes 1 and 2) by 80% by 2030 lower GHG emissions from its product portfolio (Scope 3) by 27.5% by 2030 reduce total value chain GHG emissions (Scopes 1–3) to net zero by 2040.

Continuous manufacturing

GEA’s dedication to creating a better future is exemplified by technologies such as continuous manufacturing (CM), which represents a transformative shift in pharmaceuticals and streamlines oral solid dosage production. Addressing demands for swifter product development, cost reduction and manufacturing flexibility, CM offers higher yields, lowered utility consumption and minimizes waste. Beyond environmental benefits, this approach also enhances product quality, drug safety and reduces the industry’s carbon footprint.

Sustainable cooling for freeze-drying applications

GEA has been looking for alternative low-temperature cooling solutions for commercial-scale freeze drying applications and, as a result, has developed an innovative air cycle system for lyophilisers that also incorporates carbon dioxide cooling. The GEA LYOAIR® employs natural refrigerants that comply with the 2015 fluorinated greenhouse gases regulation and benefits from the integration of highly efficient and economic compressors.

Next-generation tablet compression

To meet the needs of 21st century manufacturers and deliver more energy efficient equipment that’s flexible, multifunctional and designed to handle increasingly potent active ingredients, GEA has combined the best aspects of the MODUL and PERFORMA lines into a new range: NexGen Press®.

This isn’t just a combination of existing technologies and available components, it’s next-generation tablet compression for the pharmaceutical industry. Plus, to comply with the stringent requirements of ISO 14021 — and with defined criteria from TÜV Rheinland — the NexGen Press® has been externally audited to qualify for an Add Better label!

In conclusion

What’s the value of an engineering solution that consumes less energy and fewer natural resources, that operates more cleanly, efficiently and reliably for a longer lifespan? Is it the lower cost of ownership and higher operational resilience? Is it the improved health of the planet? Probably both. By making it as easy as possible to identify and select GEA's most sustainable technologies, GEA provides the transparency that empowers its customers to make smart decisions.

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