E-Factor : Reduce Losses By Correcting Your Process
Green chemistry also known as “sustainable chemistry” refers to processes that cut harmful environmental substances during manufacturing, usually by reducing waste, using nontoxic components and improving efficiency.
Throughout Green Chemistry, there are a number of ways to determine if one method of making a product is better than another. One such metric is called the E-Factor or the Environmental Impact Factor. This factor is widely used for determining the efficiency and environmental impact of chemical process.
The E-factor is the measure of the amount of a waste generated while making a product. The simple ratio is units of waste divided by units of product tells us that the lower the E-factor, the less waste is produced. E-factor is defined as kgs waste generated per kg of product. Take for example; the E-Factor of the pharmaceutical industry is in the range of 25 to 100 plus kgs. This means that 1 kg pharmaceutical product produced generates 25 kgs to 100 plus kgs of waste. Today, across the world, more than 1 billion kgs of drugs are being manufactured. This gives us an indication of the magnitude waste the pharmaceutical industry generates.
In practice, it might be difficult to measure the amount of waste generated in a direct way. We could instead measure the quantity of material put into the system and subtract the mass of material output from the system. The only output from the system would be the final product. If materials are recycled then the output of the system would also include those materials.
The principles of green chemistry direct us to reduce waste rather than dealing with it afterwards. The best scenario is one in which no waste is produced. If all materials that go into the system are used in the final product or they are recycled, then the E-factor produced will be less. So the best way to improve the E-factor is to recycle some of the materials that go in to the process.
What you thinking about? Go and measure E-Factor of your plant, or if you already measuring it, let us know how E-Factor is playing a key role in your industry.