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Aesica is a leading integrated supplier of contract development and manufacturing services for formulated products and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Founded in 2004 and with approximately 1300 employees, Aesica is a fast-growing UK company with a global footprint including operations spanning Europe, North America and Asia.
Committed to being a good corporate citizen and to the highest standards of environmental management, Aesica has been recognised with industry awards for its environmental performance. As it continues to expand its portfolio, Aesica makes every effort to maintain or raise its emission control standards.
State-of-the-art facilities in Cramlington (UK) deliver APIs and formulated products for a growing number of markets.
These new products sometimes present new emission control challenges, particularly in relation to organic solvents. Organic solvents are required for many key manufacturing processes in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
Due to their highly volatile nature, it is not possible to effectively reduce the concentration of these solvents in reactor off-gases using traditional condenser technology. However, emissions of solvent gas streams to atmosphere can be environmentally damaging and therefore have to be controlled.
Aesica turned to its long-standing business partner BOC (UK member of The Linde Group) to help it control emissions from a new exhaust gas stream.
Over the years, Aesica has built a relationship of trust with Linde as the local application team has clearly proven that it understands and can meet Aesica’s specialised needs for industrial compressed gases, speciality gases and medical/pharmaceutical-grade gases. Already a buyer of liquid nitrogen from Linde, Aesica was keen to explore how Linde’s VOC abatement solution, CIRRUS® VEC (Vapour Emission Control), could not only resolve its emission control challenge, but also enable it to get better value from its liquid nitrogen.
Like most chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers, Aesica uses gaseous nitrogen as an inerting and purging agent to maintain product quality and purity.
It can also be used to prevent explosions or fires if flammable solvents are present.
Gaseous nitrogen is typically generated by evaporating liquid nitrogen, which is stored at cryogenic temperatures (–196°C). Usually supplied in cryogenic form for ease of transport and storage, liquid nitrogen possesses a lot of cooling potential. CIRRUS can harness this cooling power to abate solvent emissions.
CIRRUS technology has been specially designed to give very accurate and controlled cooling performance, a key requirement for successful and reliable solvent emissions abatement. Once the solvent has been recovered as a liquid, it may be either recycled back into the manufacturing process or disposed of in a controlled way.
Approximately 50% of Linde’s CIRRUS installations recycle solvents, thus making a valuable contribution to resource conservation. The gaseous nitrogen generated in the CIRRUS process is entirely pure and clean and can easily be conditioned for standard purging and inerting applications.
CIRRUS® VEC is a simple, cost-effective, flexible and reliable way to meet Aesica’s VOC abatement challenges.
The benefits of CIRRUS extend beyond environmental protection to include low energy consumption, solvent recycling capabilities and a low carbon footprint, as “waste” cold can be used and clean nitrogen can be recycled.
As Mike Battrum, Group Engineering Manager for Aesica commented: “We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of our production activities. We reviewed the options for solvent emissions control for one of our exhaust gas streams and Linde’s CIRRUS cryo-condensation technology seemed ideally suited. One of the key advantages for our business is that by making use of the cold energy in the liquid nitrogen we already consumed, we achieve our environmental objectives with minimal additional running cost and energy consumption – so it is a very elegant and efficient solution.”
The modular, simple and compact design of CIRRUS gives Aesica the flexibility to add to its existing system and increase VOC abatement capabilities in future.
As Battrum explains: “Aesica is rapidly expanding and diversifying its production capabilities with new products for a growing number of customers. The ability to cut the emissions of a wide range of very volatile solvents will enable Aesica to meet market needs and be competitive well into the future.”
Mike Battrum, Group Engineering Manager for Aesica
“Contract manufacturers such as Aesica require fast turnarounds and this meant a challenging programme for installation and commissioning. We were pleased that close cooperation between Aesica and BOC meant the system could be installed and commissioned successfully and to the required timescale and budget.”
CIRRUS® highlights at a glance
For batch or continuous process
Reliability – few moving parts
Very low power consumption
No secondary waste streams
Potential to recycle recovered solvents
Fast response – modular equipment
Compact – small footprint
Flexible commercial options
Process modelling capability