Solvents: Making the Green Choice
Environmental sustainability and “big picture thinking” should be key considerations when selecting solvents for scale-up
Alan Steven | | Longer Read
This article was published in our sister publication, The Small Molecule Manufacturer, which celebrates the field of small molecule drug development and manufacturing with interviews and articles focusing on success stories, equipment, and new processing techniques. Read more about The Small Molecule Manufacturer here.
In a time when the world is more focused on green manufacturing than ever before, companies must find methods of sustainably developing essential medicines. The volumes of solvents used for processing can significantly influence the size of a company’s environmental footprint, so it pays to carefully consider which solvents are used. At the same time, identifying the solvents that produce the best overall outcome for the product and process across reaction, work-up, and product isolation operations is a challenging task.
Given the high value of the pharmaceutical materials, there is clear economic pressure to maximize process yields. From a solvent perspective, a more inclusive assessment includes the plant time and energy usage associated with removing and swapping solvents. Further requirements, such as the disposal or recycling of solvent, must also be factored into overall cost. But this consideration is complicated by the limited visibility of the long-term manufacturing scenario for a given product and the non-uniform way in which manufacturing sites dispose of solvent waste. The best overall option may require the limited use of a solvent which, when considered in an isolated context, has poor sustainability credentials.
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