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Energy Efficiency Medicine for Energy Guzzlers: Cutting the Energy Demand of API Production

Editor: Dominik Stephan

How an API plant experiences energy reductions and operational improvements with 3D Trasar technology – Chilled water is a major factor in pharmaceutical production, but also a major energy consumer. Therefore, to cut an API production's energy bill, it is a god idea to take a close look on temperature control and water management...

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3D TRASAR technology controls system chemistry, dosing on-demand, minimizes the amount of materials added to the system, and minimizes costs without prejudicing system integrity.
3D TRASAR technology controls system chemistry, dosing on-demand, minimizes the amount of materials added to the system, and minimizes costs without prejudicing system integrity.
(Picture: depositphotos.com/oxanatravel)

Pharmaceutical plants use chillers for process cooling, HVAC loads and to maintain both humidity and space temperature set points in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) spaces. Chilled water flows and temperature are critical to product viability and plant operation. Chillers are a major user of energy so operational efficiency is a key aspect of a pharmaceutical plant’s energy consumption. Inadequate water management can lead to scaling of the chillers that will result in inability to maintain process parameters, failures and high energy costs.

An API manufacturing facility in western India belongs to a large pharmaceutical group with a global market presence. Their chiller system was experiencing serious scaling problems and required drainage of water from the cooling system and condenser cleaning once every 15 days. A traditional treatment program was in place and the system bleed off was manual. Resulting problems faced by this site included:

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  • Loss of production
  • High approach temperature and energy use due to loss of efficiency
  • Costly cleaning neeeded to maintain reliability
  • Manual handling of equipment
  • Loss of water due to drainage of water from the tower basin once every 15 days.

The customer wanted to reduce energy consumption by 5 per cent and reduce the frequency of condenser cleaning from once every 15 days to once every three months.

Solutions

After a discussion with Nalco, a decision was made to survey the plant in order to determine which mechanical, operational and chemical factors were leading to the current problems. Based on the survey, the following recommendations were made to improve the system performance:

  • Upgrade the chemical program by integrating 3D Trasar automation technology. The advanced Nalco High Stress Polymer (HSP) program is particularly suitable for systems with stress and a history of scaling problems. It combines sensors and a controller that can actively measure chemistry in the system as well as consumption and can automatically respond with dosing based on system loads and stresses to maintain the appropriate treatment levels.
  • Provide training to plant operators on the use of technology and safe handling of chemicals.

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