LCA Demonstrates Clarisolve® Water, Waste and Energy Savings
Pre-Flushing Products Use Large Volumes of Water for Injection
Head of Marketing, Ultrafiltration, Clarification and Virus Safety
Senior Research Scientist
Pre-flushing products with water for injection (WFI) in pharmaceutical manufacturing is common and requires large volumes of this highly pure water. However, Clarisolve® Depth Filter® was designed using filter media that requires significantly less flushing by the customer. To quantify this difference for customers in terms of life cycle energy demand, global warming potential and waste and water savings during use, Merck conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA).
Understanding Environmental Benefits of Clarisolve®
The scope of the LCA included a cradle-to-grave assessment, including materials production and transport, manufacturing, distribution, use and end-of-life, comparing Clarisolve® to Millistak+® Pod. The functional unit used to compare like with like across the products was “production of one batch of mAb output.” According to the study results, Clarisolve® saves customers 46%, or 1800L, of WFI per batch and reduces solid waste by 24% per batch, which is equivalent to five years worth of waste generated by the average American. In addition, the results directionally indicate an overall life cycle reduction in energy demand and global warming potential for Clarisolve® of approximately 12% and 8.5%, respectively, predominately resulting from use-phase improvements. The energy reduction is equivalent to the annual electricity usage of six American households, while the avoided emissions are equivalent to avoiding the burning of 22 barrels of oil.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve our products in order to best meet our customers’ needs, including helping them to reduce their environmental impacts,” said Stephanie McGary, head of Marketing, Ultrafiltration, Clarification and Virus Safety. “The LCA data allows us to demonstrate the direct environmental benefits of our clarification product to our customers and provides us with the information necessary to continue to make sustainability improvements to the overall product lifecycle.”
Leveraging LCA Results for Further Life Cycle Improvements
The results from the LCA not only highlighted the benefits of Clarisolve®, but it also revealed a critical manufacturing process used to treat the membrane filters that consumes a major portion of the product’s life cycle energy and results in an overall greater manufacturing impact in terms of CO2e, as compared to Pod. Although the other life cycle phase improvements offset this major impact area, the Clarisolve® product team is leveraging the LCA data and working closely with internal and external stakeholders to determine how to improve the manufacturing process to further reduce the overall footprint for Clarisolve®.
Innovative Solution for Fuel Cells Can Produce Zero-Emission Automobiles
The Challenge of Mass Market Zero-Emission Automobiles
Strategic Marketing Manager,
Transportation produces 14% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally - equivalent to over 1,779 billion liters of gasoline – with road transport accounting for 74% of that. As a result, automobiles with absolutely no pollutant emissions offer exciting prospects for manufacturers, customers, and the environment. Merck is developing a new type of catalyst coating that will help pave the way for mass production of fuel cell vehicles. Fuel cells are the great hope of the automotive industry. The technology transforms chemical energy into electricity that can power a vehicle with zero emissions.
At the beginning of 2013, current zero-emission prototypes cost €80,000 to manufacture. One reason for the high price is that approximately 60 grams of platinum are needed in a fuel cell to produce an electrical output of 80-100 kilowatts, which is the power required by a typical mid-range passenger car. The platinum catalyst material alone currently costs around €5,000, which makes the price of a fuel cell vehicle too high to compete with a vehicle powered by a combustion engine.
New Catalyst Coating Method Provides Innovative Solution for Fuel Cells
In an effort to develop a new and much less expensive catalyst coating method for fuel cells, Zeeshan Mahmood, strategic marketing manager, Fuel Cells, and researchers at Merck KGaA, came up with an innovative idea to use Merck membrane know how to construct cheaper and more heat tolerant fuel cells that can serve as the foundation of more efficient renewable energy sources. Together with the research team, Zeeshan submitted the idea to Merck KGaA’s Innospire Challenge, which serves to stimulate idea sourcing from employees of every division and capture the company’s full innovation potential. After winning the Innospire Challenge, Zeeshan and his team of three formalized and expanded the project.
Led by Zeeshan, an Merck Performance Materials and Merck cross-divisional team of 10 is now working on new technology for clean vehicles that will produce zero emissions by using fuel cells. These vehicles will be commercially viable for consumers.
“We are always looking for new ways to do business and create disruptive technology innovations,” said Zeeshan. “The catalyst coating method we have developed enables us to reduce the platinum requirement to only 10 grams per car, as opposed to the current requirement of 60 grams, while maintaining the same performance and durability as the higher loading membrane electrode assembly. As we scale up the project with testing and production, we’ll be able to develop fuel cells for the mass market.”
Automotive Industry Customers Buy into Proof of Concept
In the U.S., the team is working closely with a number of outside organizations, including leading universities and major automotive manufacturers, to apply catalyst research and enhance the first generation of fuel cells. Meanwhile, in Germany, the second generation of research is underway, focusing on membrane improvement and development. More specifically, the research aims to increase the temperature range of the existing membrane and decrease or eliminate a need for humidification.
Some major automotive industry customers have already positively assessed the new method’s proof of concept, which previously had been tested only in a laboratory. If further feedback is positive, Zeeshan and his team plan to develop an industrial manufacturing process for the components that meets the stringent quality requirements of the automotive sector.
“Innospire allowed our cross divisional ideas to flourish. I’m excited to embark on the next phase of the project and see where it takes us,” Zeeshan remarked.
Design for Sustainability (DfS) Principles Reduce Environmental and Health Impacts of EZ-Fit™ Manifold
Charged with Designing New Laboratory Filtration Manifold
Packaging Engineer & Design for Sustainability Leader
Product Manager Bioburden
Our BioMonitoring R&D team, including by Fabien Thibault, packaging engineer and Design for Sustinability leader, and Frederic Amstoutz, product manager Bioburden, set out to design a new laboratory filtration manifold to replace the existing Hydrosol manifold product offering. Intent on meeting customer needs for more ergonomic operation of the device and simpler cleaning procedures, the team also wanted to improve the sustainability of the product by reducing resource use.
Taking a Design for Sustainability Approach
In approaching a new manifold design, the team considered feedback from laboratory filtration users worldwide and across applications that former manifolds were too heavy, difficult to take apart and difficult to clean. Combining this with their knowledge that our shipping resulted in increased emissions and customer processes required a lot of energy during autoclaving, it was clear – the manifold re-design was a perfect target for our Design for Sustainability program.
“By building in sustainability considerations, like waste reduction and ease of use of the product early in the design phase, our team was able to not only significantly improve sustainability of the product, but we were also able to select design choices that minimized cost,” Frederic explained. “On top of that, we were able to do so without compromising on quality of performance of the product.”
The new EZ-Fit™ Manifold is lighter and easier to use in laminar flow hoods. It has quick-fit connections for the filtration heads, allowing easy access for cleaning and adaptability to use different sized heads. The semi-circular ‘end supports’ are the result of design iterations that ultimately have lower manufacturing scrap – 0.32 kg, or 20% per end support – and cost. After the product’s 10 year validated lifetime, it can be easily disassembled and over 95% of its parts are recyclable, where appropriate infrastructure exists.
Impact Reductions Result in Positive Outcome for Customers and the Environment
The six-place manifold uses 47% less raw material in comparison with the Hydrosol manifold, reducing raw material depletion and resulting in per product shipping emissions reduction of 38%, or the equivalent of saving 240 hours of light bulb use (75 watt incandescent bulb). Because the filtration heads can be easily removed for cleaning between periodic full device cleanings, only 10% of the autoclave volume that is required to clean the whole device is needed to clean the heads, saving electricity and water. An estimated 91% reduction in autoclave-associated carbon emissions from this space-saving is equivalent to avoiding burning 3.8 liters of gasoline. The packaging for the device is 100% recyclable corrugated board, simplifying handling for our customers. Recycling the product components at the end of its useful life avoids emissions equivalent to those from burning 3.8 liters of gas.
The EZ-Fit™ Manifold demonstrates the kinds of improvements we aim to make across our product portfolio, and marks an important step on that journey."Customers increasingly seek more sustainable products,” said Fabien. “Therefore, as part of our Design for Sustainability program, we have developed a number of tools to drive sustainability across the product development process. The development of the EZ-Fit™ Manifold is a great example of how we apply innovative thinking from the beginning of the product design process to not only bring our customers solutions that make a difference, but also to reduce our impact on human health and the environment”
For more information, please see the EZ-Fit™ Manifold fact sheet.
Foam Reduction with Q-Pod®/E-Pod® Packaging
Packaging Requirements Challenge Material Changes
R&D Product Safety & Regulatory Affairs Specialist; Design for Sustainability Leader Guyancourt, France
Specialist Procurement Sourcing Segment Production
WW Application & Training Manager
Protective packaging is required in order to safely ship Merck’s laboratory water purification systems to customers. To date, these systems have been safely packaged using polyethylene (PE) foam and expanded polystyrene cushioning. However, not only are these materials bulky, they are not recyclable in all locations. To address these issues, a team working on the laboratory water purification systems, including Christian Guillermond, Stephane Mabic, Michele Roth, Christian Ringeisen and Nicolas Hirth, sought an alternative packaging solution that would eliminate the bulkiness and reduce environmental impacts.
Molded Pulp Replaces Expanded Polystyrene
The team first evaluated the packaging used for its Milli-Q® Advantage and Milli-Q® Reference Water Purification Systems lab water systems. Based on the evaluation, the team tried alternative cushioning options, and were able to achieve the needed protection that was formerly supplied by a second box. As a result, the packaging only required one box, as opposed to the two inner and outer boxes used previously.
The team then took the packaging project a step further, replacing the expanded polystyrene used to ship Q-Pod® and E-Pod® accessories for the systems with custom molded pulp cushioning material. The molded pulp, which is made from 100% recycled fiber, is fully recyclable and biodegradable.
“We recognize that corporate responsibility is just as important to our customers as it is to us,” said Stephane Mabic, Worldwide Application & Training Manager. “When working on this packaging project, it was important for us to find a high quality solution that reduced our environmental impacts and did not compromise on properly protecting our products while in transit.”
Packaging Improvements Lead to Multiple Reductions
As a result of the packaging changes, Merck is saving a total of €75,000 in raw material costs and approximately 18 tons of corrugated cardboard annually, which is a 25% reduction. As a result, there is a reduction of over 100 metric tons of CO2e, the equivalent of avoiding the emissions from consuming 241 barrels of oil.
Making the switch to the molded pulp packaging material for one unit of the Q-Pod® and E-Pod® accessories has reduced emissions (CO2e/kg) by over 90%. In addition, it has led to space-saving improvements in both warehouses and at customer sites, reducing the number of pallets required to store the material by 90% and resulting in cost savings of €13,000.
Merck and Baxter BioScience Collaborate to Move from Wooden to Plastic Pallets
Igniting Action Through Customer Demand
Associate Customer Service Manager, Singapore
Operations Supervisor, Singapore
Merck products were originally shipped to Baxter BioScience ADVATE manufacturing facility in Singapore on wooden pallets. However, those pallets would normally take up a significant amount of floor space and would end up in a landfill after use. With a focus on reducing its environmental impact, Baxter International wanted to identify opportunities to minimize impacts, particularly in how it was receiving products from its suppliers. Wong Chian Fang, supply chain manager, Baxter BioScience Manufacturing SARL, Singapore Branch, turned to Merck for a solution.
Simplifying Processes and Reducing Emissions
Jennifer Sia, associate customer service manager, and Ashley Nai, operations supervisor, along with their respective teams at Merck, worked closely in collaboration with Wong Chian Fang to shift from using wooden pallets for product delivery to plastic pallets. The collaboration took into consideration all logistics, from delivery to shipment to warehouse.
“We worked directly with the Baxter BioScience manufacturing facility to start delivering materials and products in plastic pallets instead of wooden ones,” said Jennifer. “By using the plastic pallets, we are able to help Baxter simplify its processes, preserve critical floor space and have a turnaround when recycling.”
All Merck products that are shipped to the manufacturing facility are now delivered on the plastic pallets. As a result of the collaboration, enough wooden pallets sent to landfills were eliminated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 13 metric tons, the equivalent of 5,538 gallons of gasoline consumed.
Forming an Ongoing Collaborative Partnership
Merck was one of the first suppliers to work with Baxter’s supply chain team at this newly constructed facility to ensure shipped products had a positive environmental impact. As a result, in 2012 Baxter awarded Merck with the e-Impact supplier certificate which recognizes environmental initiatives launched in collaboration with the company’s suppliers.
“We are so honored to be recognized by Baxter for this project,” said Ashley. “It was truly a collaborative team effort across both Merck and Baxter Bioscience. We are excited to work on future corporate responsibility initiatives with Baxter to further reduce the overall environmental impact of both our companies.”
The collaboration is evolving and expanding with additional sustainability initiatives in progress to further reduce environmental impact.