This study explores design alternatives for the purification and possible reuse of low-volume organic solvents waste streams in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Solvent use has a large impact on the life cycle of pharmaceutical processes, as typically 80–90% of the total mass used in the production of an active pharmaceutical ingredient is attributed to solvent use. Solvents are not consumed in pharmaceutical processes so they exit the process as waste. These waste streams are usually disposed of using incineration; therefore, generating significant life cycle emissions from disposal and replacement of virgin solvent. Solvent recovery efforts are generally limited to large-volume waste streams. However, results show that solvents in low-volume streams can also be economically recovered using a versatile multi-campaign solvent recovery skid. Three different solvent waste streams were evaluated, and 85.3% reduction in total emissions and 86.3% reduction in operating costs were achieved. Investment in the solvent recovery system was determined to have a payback period of 4.5 years and a 28% IRR over 10 years. A life cycle impact assessment shows impacts on the human health, ecosystems, and resources categories have been reduced by 82.4, 85.1, and 87.1%, respectively.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law