Pharmaceutical production processes typically utilize common organic solvents in the manufacture of intermediary or end products. One major consideration for each production process line in the facility is the treatment and handling of the waste. Distillation is considered the best available technology for reducing organic liquid waste in pharmaceutical production.
In many cases the waste streams following pharmaceutical production lines contain high value organic chemicals that can be recovered and reused in the upstream process. This methodology is referred to as Solvent Recovery. Continuous or Batch Distillation is the standard method used for Solvent Recovery. Each Solvent Recovery process is unique in design and recovery purity requirements.
Another major concern at the back-end of the pharmaceutical production process is the reduction of waste materials and the maintenance of discharge streams from process wastewater to meet EPA effluent guidelines for organic compounds. Component discharge limits that can range from 100 ppb – 10 ppm are common and dependent on the solvent in question.
Steam Stripping is commonly used for processing wastewater to acceptable EPA limits. Evaporation units are used to concentrate solid waste streams to reduce discharge.
Gas scrubbing systems use liquid contact to reduce components within a gas emission stream. The Scrubber design is contingent on many factors including the volume of the emission stream and the components required for removal. Thermal Kinetics will typically simulate the respective process for initial estimation of the equipment requirements.
Thermal Kinetics engineers have designed multiple steam stripping processes, distillation solvent recovery processes and evaporation processes for waste concentrating units. For a pharmaceutical plant with several production lines there are advanced distillation systems capable of processing multiple varying streams of immiscible and miscible solvents at varying feed concentrations.
The Thermal Kinetics design approach focuses on the process needs, effluent limits, or recovery goals as applicable. The economics of the process are also a major focus. Thermal Kinetics integrates the process design into a Modular System approach to the mechanical system configuration.
Modular System Design
Modular systems are fully assembled in the shop, which simplifies the site installation process and the overall project cost and duration. The module contains all vessels, heat exchangers, pumps, valves, and instrumentation required for the process. The separate pieces of equipment mounted in the steel framework are piped together within the module. Electrical control wiring is typically run to a skid-mounted junction box for integration into the plant control system.
Once the system is fully assembled and tested it is securely transported to the client’s facility where it can be installed or incorporated into a larger system.