Removing CMR molecules in the pharmaceutical sector

Correct handling of carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR) molecules in air emissions is a major challenge for many companies. On one hand, these substances are needed in their production processes. On the other hand, companies are legally obliged to identify and dispose of them in a safe and environmentally friendly way. DESOTEC’s mobile AIRCON filters provide a reliable, budget-friendly and ecologically sound solution to CMR molecules and other substances of very high concern (SVHC).

The Problem

A well-known French pharmaceutical company came under pressure from the authorities to find a rapid solution to CMR molecules in its air emissions. Failure to do so would mean production would have to stop.

Previously, the company had used gas combustion to remove CMR molecules. However, this approach has three main disadvantages: it’s a big investment; it has high operational costs (especially where production is discontinuous); and it produces very high CO₂ emissions, which have an environmental impact.

The company turned to DESOTEC to find an alternative.

Group of vaccine bottles medicine in ampoules

The Solution

After close consultation with the customer, our project team designed a turnkey solution, based around activated carbon filtration, to tackle air emissions from two points.

We installed a series of mobile AIRCON filters at each point, which completely and safely removed the CMR molecules from the air flow.

To compensate for the discontinuous treatment process, we ensured a continuous airflow over the installation.

The Results

Our filtration set-up has solved several of the customer’s problems simultaneously.

The operational costs are just 25% of the gas combustion approach, and the CO₂ emissions are ten times lower.

As our filters are supplied on a rental basis, the customer doesn’t need to make any serious upfront investments.

Plus, the filter units are designed in such a way that no manual intervention is required during operation. This means the filtration process is 100% safe, with no risk to the company’s employees.

When the carbon is saturated, the filter is exchanged for a new one in a swift process that requires no production downtime.

All filtration waste is transported away from the customer’s site in closed units and taken to DESOTEC’s facilities. There, the used carbon is analysed so the right measures can be taken to keep our employees safe while handling it.

All molecules that were adsorbed on the activated carbon at the customer’s site are desorbed inside DESOTEC’s reactivation furnaces. These contaminants are then fully destroyed in accordance with national and European legislation by an incineration and neutralisation setup. The entire installation and its emissions are under continuous online monitoring, which guarantees that only harmless water vapour is seen exiting the chimney.