Pharmaceutical & Chemical Industries

Given the large variation in recipes involved, it is difficult to compare Pharmaceutical and Chemical companies on the basis of specific fuel consumption. However, at an average a potential to save 21% of the fuel bill exists. Given below is an indicator of the savings potential identified in a few Pharmaceutical and Chemical companies.

Plant Fuel Bill Rs. Lakh Savings Rs. Lakh Savings as %
of Fuel Bill
A 1620 530 32.71
B 400  88.42 22.10
C  250 109 43.6
D 250 47.2 18.88
E 53 18.60 35.09


Case Study 1

A chemical plant in Gujarat, with an average production rate of 1700tpd of soda ash, has an average steam consumption of 240tph. Forbes Marshall has partnered the plant in reducing it’s steam consumption over the last 5 years via 3 energy audits

Boiler House:
The boiler was operating at a low efficiency primarily due to lack of monitoring. By implementing recommendations made in the audit, the boiler efficiency was improved from 77% to 82%, saving 6.5% on the annual fuel bill!

Rectification of the distribution losses and the trap losses lead to a savings of 288 Kg/hr of steam.

Condensate Recovery:
A solution to recover Condensate and flash from the dense soda ash plant reduced the SSC from 0.52 MT Steam/MT Soda to 0.48 MT Steam/MT Soda.

Partnering with Forbes Marshall’s Energy Services Division, the plant has been able to steadily reduce its steam energy consumption and reduce fuel bills.


Case Study 2:
A leading pharmaceutical company has been highly committed in its outlook to energy conservation. Forbes Marshall has been their chosen partner for energy audits and we have conducted two audits at their unit.

The 1st audit in 05-06 identified a potential of 10.7% reduction

The 2nd audit in ’08 identified an additional 4% saving in the steam & condensate loop.

Some of significant improvements were:

1. Boiler efficiency improved from 69% and sustained at 75%
2. CRF improved from 75% to 85%
3. Feedwater temperature rise from 60 to 80degC.

Implementation of the audit recommendations has resulted in the plant achieving a saving of Rs.50 lacs/yr!

The prime avenues for energy saving across Pharma & Chemical plants are:


1. Efficiency of steam generation


Avg Direct efficiency : 72.4

Avg Indirect efficiency: 77.5

Reasons for gap:

  1. On-off operation is frequent in boiler leading to higher on-off losses
  2. Running of boiler on low loads
  3. Low feedwater temperature

2. Optimized steam utilization

1. Manual operation of the steam valve to control process temperature leads to 3%-4% excess steam consumption.
2. Supply steam pressure variation
3. Air venting provision if present is manual. Due to the batch operation nature of these plants, accumulation of air is frequent and has a strong impact on the heat transfer efficiencies.

3. Recovering condensate and flash steam

Reasons for gap


  1. In most plants flash steam is not recovered
  2. The condensate from multi utility reactor jackets, due to fear of condensate contamination, is drained
  3. Condensate formed is utilized locally, which may not be the most energy efficient option.

4. Steam trapping

1. Only 35% of the traps selected in the industry are correct, thus on a majority, by-passes are kept open, draining condensate.
2. Wrong trap selection also increases the steam consumption for the process concerned.


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