The Environmental Impact of Disposable Technologies - Can disposables reduce your facility's environmental footprint? - BioPharm International


The Environmental Impact of Disposable Technologies
Can disposables reduce your facility's environmental footprint?

BioPharm International Supplements


Figure 2
In the disposable case, because the demand to operate equipment cleaning and sterilization activities is significantly reduced, the labor required to support such tasks decreases. The disposables-engineered facility also may reduce labor requirements in other areas, such as quality. The set-up and turnaround time for disposable systems typically is shorter than for their stainless steel counterparts. All these factors result in a less labor-intensive facility. There is an overall 21% reduction in labor headcount in the disposables-based option compared to the traditional stainless steel–equipped facility. The bulk of the savings in labor headcount is derived from reduced clean-in-place (CIP) activities (Figure 2).


Figure 3
The disposables-engineered facility simplifies hardware installation, design, and storage, leading to more efficient use of space and thus considerably reducing the square footage of the facility. Figure 3 illustrates the facility footprint in square meters for the various area classifications. Table 4 lists the amount of floor space needed in each area classification, based on the types of activities that take place in each. Because the two manufacturing options have the same inoculum preparation and downstream purification sequences, which take place in Class B and C areas, respectively, the floor spaces required for those two classes are the same in both instances. The savings in floor space are obtained from Classes D and U, where the cell culture, solution preparation operations, and utilities equipment are located, with the majority of the space savings coming from Class D. It can be seen that the facilities footprint of the disposables facility is reduced by 243.19 m2, or 38%, compared to the traditional facility.


Table 4. HVAC energy consumption for each class of facility space. The disposables-based facility uses 38% less floor space in Class D and U areas, and as a result, the total energy consumption for HVAC is 29% lower in that setup. overall in the disposables facility.
As a result of its smaller facility footprint, the disposables-based facility achieves process electrical savings of about 30%, indicating that such a plant is potentially more energy-efficient. The cubic feet per minute/kilowatt (cfm/kW) values for each class are listed in Table 4. Because the energy required to operate HVAC systems is directly proportional to the floor area, the electricity required to operate classes B and C is the same in the stainless-steel and disposables-based facilities. In the disposables-based facility, however, the total electricity consumed for HVAC operations is reduced by about 29%, which can be attributed to a smaller facility space required in classes D and U.

Figure 4
Figure 4 shows the electrical energy ratios for the two manufacturing options. In the stainless-steel facility, the bulk of the energy is needed to operate Class D, where the cell culture and solution preparation operations take place. When the stainless-steel vessels are replaced with presterilized disposable components, the energy requirement is concentrated in the downstream purification area (i.e., class B) instead of class D.

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