Uniting innovation and sustainability in pharma

10 Oct 2023

Uniting innovation and sustainability in pharma

GEA directs its focus toward the juncture of sustainability and innovation, igniting positive transformation across our organization and the expansive pharmaceutical sector.

Sustainability in pharmaceuticals encompasses layers of significance. Central to this is drug manufacturing, which carries substantial environmental implications, spanning resource usage, waste generation, and emissions entailed in production, packaging, and distribution. The collective adoption of eco-conscious practices within the life sciences sector serves as a collaborative effort to confront challenges such as pollution, climate change, and the depletion of vital resources.

Embedded in this landscape is the critical challenge of resource conservation. Given the extensive raw materials, energy, and water consumed by pharmaceutical processes, the adoption of sustainable practices to curtail the use of invaluable natural resources and utilities is not just essential, but imperative, ensuring their sustained availability. Regulatory strictness is on the rise within this tightly regulated sector, mandating compliance to avert penalties, legal entanglements, and reputational damage. Through sustainable approaches, companies align themselves with regulations, showcasing their unwavering commitment to responsible environmental stewardship.

Furthermore, the implicit benefit of a sustainable pharmaceutical industry extends to public health. By mitigating pollution, conserving resources, and minimizing environmental harm, this endeavor contributes to cultivating a healthier global environment. The ethical resonance of sustainability harmonizes with the industry's inherent responsibility to contribute positively to society. In sum, the significance of sustainability within the pharmaceutical realm extends beyond industry longevity; it is intrinsically linked to creating an ecologically fortified and healthier world.

GEA's Sustainable Vision: Exemplifying Innovation

As engineers, GEA takes its responsibility to help preserve a world that’s worth living in very seriously. Machinery, equipment, and production processes are central to value creation around the world, and without striving to continuously improve them, no effective progress would be made. At the same time, sustainability is opening new horizons and significant economic opportunities for companies; the future belongs to intelligent solutions that save energy, avoid emissions, and conserve resources. This vision aligns seamlessly with GEA Group's pioneering climate strategy, committing to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout its value chain by 2040. By propelling renewable energy usage, enhancing energy efficiency, and reducing emissions, GEA leads the charge in sustainable solutions, poised as a trailblazer in various sectors.

The commitment to sustainability underpins GEA Group's foundation, enhancing its internal operations, empowering clients' objectives, and nurturing communities on a carbon-neutral trajectory. This commitment is exemplified by technologies like Continuous Manufacturing, a transformative shift in pharmaceuticals that streamlines oral solid dosage production. Addressing demands for swifter product development, cost reduction, and manufacturing flexibility, Continuous Manufacturing offers higher yields, lowered utility consumption, and waste reduction. Beyond environmental benefits, this approach also enhances product quality, drug safety, and reduces the industry's carbon footprint.

A testament to this commitment is the introduction of the "Add Better" green ecolabel, seamlessly integrating sustainability into product development. This labeling paradigm empowers customers to readily identify GEA's resource-efficient offerings, thereby contributing to emissions reduction. GEA's innovation compass, firmly oriented toward sustainability, solidifies the company's dedication to a more ecologically conscious future.

Pushing Boundaries: GEA's Sustainable Innovations

Cooling for Freeze Dryers: Advancing Green Innovation

Addressing environmental concerns, GEA has pioneered a sustainable approach in freeze dryers with its breakthrough LYOAIR®system. By combining air cycling and carbon dioxide (CO2) cooling, GEA reduces the ecological impact of pharmaceutical freeze-drying processes.

The LYOAIR® system showcases impressive performance and reliability, operating efficiently without special ATEX requirements and fitting non-ATEX rooms. This sustainability-driven system not only integrates natural refrigerants like CO2 and air with a low global warming potential (GWP) of 1 (equivalent to CO2), perfectly aligning with greenhouse gas regulations, but it also embraces eco-friendliness by improving the overall efficiency and therefore energy usage. Achieving temperatures as low as -50°C, this innovative approach eliminates toxic gases, reduces vibration, operates silently, and eliminates the need for silicone oil storage.

From a financial standpoint, the LYOAIR® system offers substantial cost savings compared to liquid nitrogen alternatives. Beyond economic benefits, it significantly contributes to a more environmentally conscious future.

GEA's LYOAIR® system exemplifies the company's dedication to sustainable innovation, revolutionizing freeze-drying processes with a greener footprint.

Next-Generation Tablet Compression: The Evolution of Efficiency

In an ever-evolving market where oral solid dosage forms remain integral to global health strategies, the pursuit of efficient, sustainable, and resilient tableting equipment is an unceasing force driving innovation. GEA's reputation as a provider of cutting-edge tableting equipment is well-established. Responding to the demands of modern manufacturers and the imperative for energy-efficient, adaptable machinery capable of handling potent active ingredients, GEA's experts have amalgamated the strengths of the MODUL and PERFORMA lines to give rise to the NexGen Press®range. NexGen transcends mere amalgamation; it signifies a new era in pharmaceutical tablet compression. Every facet of these machines has been meticulously deconstructed, re-evaluated, enhanced, and reassembled to create a best-in-class solution adaptable across an extensive array of tableting applications. 

The NexGen 30 boasts a reduced footprint (4.7 m² compared to MODUL P's 11.9 m²) and optimizes resource consumption, including energy, water, and materials. GEA has not just raised the bar; they've set a new standard for the pharmaceutical compression market. But GEA doesn't merely assert this; they substantiate it. The NexGen Press® has undergone external audits to fulfill ISO 14021 requirements and the meticulous standards of TÜV Rheinland, earning the Add Better label. This exceptional transparency reaffirms GEA's commitment to rigorous evaluation processes and underscores their dedication to a more sustainable future. 

In Conclusion: Forging a Sustainable Path

The intrinsic worth of an engineering solution lies in its capacity to minimize energy consumption, preserve natural resources, and ensure cleaner, efficient, and reliable operations across an extended lifespan. Is it the promise of reduced ownership costs and heightened operational robustness, or the tangible contribution to a healthier planet? The answer likely encompasses both dimensions. By simplifying the process of recognizing and adopting our most sustainable technologies, we impart the transparency that empowers our customers to make smart decisions — and real progress — toward a greener future.

Add Better


Our Add Better label calls attention to GEA solutions that are significantly better than their predecessor product when it comes to efficiency and environmental impact.

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