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Abstract

An increase in the amount of Greenhouse gasses around the world is


making scientists wonder of possible solutions to control this dangerous
rise. Greenhouse gasses trap the rays sent by the sun, which reflect as heat
and if its levels get too high, planet earth can suffer some drastic changes to
natural ecosystems and economy as well. Different industries contribute to
the rise of these types of gasses, some of them being energy industries,
pharmaceutical industries and others who in some way contribute to this
number. In Puerto Rico, effects have been clearly seen with the rise in
temperatures, sand erosion on beaches and other effects that distress the
daily living of inhabitants of the island. Since in Puerto Rico the leading
industry is the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry, designing a
plan to reduce the amount of gas emissions thrown into the environment by
them is a big first step in solving this problem that is affecting everyone
worldwide and Puerto Ricans as well. Agencies such as EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency) and the Department of Natural Resources from the island
work constantly to keep track of all the different factors that can affect the
environment in the island but giving more emphasis on Greenhouse gasses
can make an impact in our lives.

Table of Contents
Abstract ............................................................................................ 1
Table of Content ..................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
Introduction ...................................................................................... 3
Problem Analysis ................................................................................ 8
Plan of Work ...................................................................................... 8
Methods ........................................................................................... 14
Scope .............................................................................................. 15
Personnel ......................................................................................... 15
Cost17
Conclusion ..18

Introduction
Puerto Rico is a small island located in the Caribbean known for its
beaches, its wildlife and many natural attractions that make it a special
place to visit. The economy of the island is one that can be considered
diverse because it uses its natural resources as well as a big load of
workforce in industry day in and day out to produce some much needed
goods. To boost the tourism industry, the natural resources are essential.
Pharmaceutical and medical devices industries do not use many natural
resources to operate but they definitely give jobs to many locals from
around the island. The combination of both types of industries gives the
people from the island an important challenge to keep up with.
Contamination from the pharmaceutical plants can drastically affect the
tourism industry making the economy fall, but also keeping everything
natural is impossible when you have some worldwide known pharmaceutical
industries operating.
Here is when having a balance comes in effect. Keeping a strict plan in
the way pharmaceutical industries dispose of all their wastes is important
when trying to keep every aspect of the economy running properly. If
contamination levels rise, for example air contamination, natural ecosystems
will be affected drastically and many side effects will be seen in natural
attractions for tourists as well as Puerto Rican homes. Most importantly, the
beauties of the island can be lost forever. To avoid this, standards are set by
different agencies and regulations need to be followed by every industry that
wants to keep operating. The standards are set to ranges where it will not
affect natural life but the truth is, that keeping the track of what is
happening is extremely difficult due to the amount of industries around the
island. The implementing of systems to avoid natural disasters should be
important when thinking of solutions and this should not be a concern to

anyone because the more pure you keep the environment, the better quality
of life can be experienced by inhabitants.
When talking about air quality, greenhouse gases always play a special
role. Greenhouse gasses are gasses which produce what is called the
greenhouse effect. This effect is a natural process that warms the Earths
surface (1). Normally, the suns energy reaches the Earth but goes back out
of the atmosphere freely without making a big impact in the temperature
experienced. The presence of greenhouse gasses absorbs this energy and
radiates it back to the planet in the form of heat. Logically, an increase in
the amount of these gases represent a rise in temperature. This contributes
to global warming and other changes to the planet which can be hazardous
to humans and other natural species. Some amounts of the greenhouse
gases are produced naturally and without them, life in Earth would be
different if not extinct because without the presence of these gases, the
temperature in Earth would be 91 degrees Fahrenheit cooler. On the other
hand, most of these gases, which are mainly Carbon Dioxide (CO2),
Methane, Water vapor, nitrous oxide and ozone, are produced by
humankind. Activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, industries,
agriculture and others are the main producers of the earth controlling
temperature gases. Some of these activities are vital for the daily living of
human beings so eliminating them cannot be an option. Activities such as
transportation, need to be performed in order to keep the planet operating
in what we like to call normal and others such as industries produce what
humans need to live.

Image extracted from the


Department of The
Environment in the
Australian Government

When having an environment filled with greenhouse gases, especially


CO2, and other contaminants, effects can be seen at a large scale. Rise in
temperature is common due to what was explained previously of having the
heat produced by the sun trapped near the earth surface. This brings with it
the effect of global warming and the melting of the ice near the poles
producing by consequence a rise in sea levels. Bernstein, instructor in
pediatrics at Harvard Medical School confirmed that a small global
temperature increase could lead to troubling consequences like rising sea
levels, population displacement, disruption to the food supply, flooding and
an increase of infectious diseases. (2). In Puerto Rico a rise in sea levels is
being experienced and it can be clearly seen with the erosion in beaches.
This effect is being experienced all around the island and experts are looking
for solutions to this. Also, a rise in the temperature means a danger in
health conditions of inhabitants. Conditions related to the cardiovascular
system as well as respiratory diseases are more common when experiencing
increased temperatures (3). All these situations, environmental as well as
clinical, can be avoided with a controlling of the rise of temperature. Many
factors contribute to this effect but one that is known and can be controlled
by making adjustments is the amount of Carbon Dioxide producing the
Greenhouse Effect.

In Puerto Rico, one of the leading industries is the pharmaceutical


industry. Based on information extracted from the tourism site Welcome To
Puerto Rico in Puerto Rico out of 100,000 employees working on companies
operating under section 936, 23,000 were working on pharmaceutical
industry, a high percent in this category (4). Other information found about
pharmaceutical industries in Puerto Rico is that over 100 companies have
facilities on this beautiful tropical island (5). This type of industry has had
big success through the passing of the years and this can be proven by facts
that show that Puerto Rico has become one of the largest high-tech
manufacturing centers in the United States (5). The first pharmaceutical
industry was settled in the island in the year 1957 ever since that moment
there has been a significant rise to that number including worldwide known
names such as Eli Lilly, Abbott laboratories, Merck, Pfizer, Baxter and others.
In terms of infrastructure this industry holds a $60 billion dollar investment
and holds around 89 FDA-approved pharmaceutical plants. It is the world's
5th largest pharmaceutical manufacturing region, after the U.S., the U.K.,
Japan and France (5).

Image extracted from PRIDCO which shows the pharmaceutical industries


around the island.

Quantity of production should not be the end goal to this big number
of pharmaceutical industries. Quality should be mission and vision of each
and every one of them. Not only quality in their products, this is something
that has made this industries in the island already worldwide known, but
also quality in their connection to the environment should be a primary
focus.
In terms of Greenhouse gasses, the leading one in the atmosphere and
the one which is mostly produced by humans is Carbon Dioxide. Carbon
dioxide (CO2) is produced by a combustion reaction used by factories to
obtain energy for their processes. This process begins with the burning of an
organic compound mixed with dry air inside a combustion reactor. The
combustion reactor will provide the necessary energy for the production of
the desired materials for the company. However, the complete combustion
reaction occurring inside the combustion reactor will produce carbon dioxide
and water. As carbon dioxide and water exit the combustion reactor through
a system of pipelines, they usually enter a separation column where the
water vapor that exited will condense and the carbon dioxide will rise
through the column and is released to the environment. As we already
know, these gasses have a very negative effect on our environment.
In recent years, the island has reached never before seen
temperatures. Also, the amount of rain reported around the past few years
has been soaring high. These changes do not happen for no reason.
Industries as well as other factors are contributing to this and all these
situations have as a common denominator a rise in the amount of Carbon
Dioxide, the most abundant Greenhouse Gas. Since the Pharmaceutical
industry has been in the mix for so many years it is time to explore and
research how are they contributing to this changes. The data reported by
them on the amount of gases emitted to the environment is very limited
therefore adding this documentation to what these companies are emitting

to the environment can be important in finding the solution for the changes
that the island is experimenting. Other solutions can be proposed along the
way to solve this situation and save the island from drastic, and possibly
catastrophic, changes.

Problem Analysis
The planet is being destroyed by humans. In Puerto Rico changes are
being quite noticeable especially in temperatures and in amounts of rain.
Studies made on what we should expect of the temperature by the end of
the 21st century show that temperature should rise 1.4F (6). This number
can only be stopped by us, and the way to do it is attacking the root of the
problem. Another fact about a problem that Puerto Rico is facing right now is
the rise in rainfall. In July 2013, the San Juan area broke record of the
wettest day with 9.28 of rain (7), this was due to some tropical conditions
but this may be an effect of the problem that will be attacked with this
proposal. The bottom line of this project is to save the island from disaster.
We have a problem right in our home and the only ones who can do
something to help are us.

Plan of Work
Changes to industries in the island need to be implemented as soon as
possible so that any more damage is avoided. Studying the effects from the
pharmaceutical industry to the environment is key when trying to solve the
problem with Carbon Dioxide emissions especially in Puerto Rico because
that is without a doubt the leading industry. Changes to the environment

have been clearly visible with the passing of time and if it is not stopped
anytime soon they will keep getting worse. Searching for data on
greenhouse gas emission on pharmaceutical industry, it was found that the
information is limited. Even though there is what is called the Clean Air Act
which is a law that deals with the quality of fumes sent to the environment
by certain industries, there is no documented finding of the greenhouse gas
or CO2 emissions from the pharmaceutical industry. This, being the leading
industry in the island, should be the one most monitored by agencies. The
Environmental Protection Agency has as the motto Air Pollution affects our
health our environment and the economy and by research it was found that
in 1990 there was an amendment made to the clean air act. They now
monitored gases which where toxic to the environment but not Greenhouse
gases. As a primary plan to this proposal we propose that the top 5
pharmaceutical industries in the island start a leading project to identify if
the gases emitted to the environment are considered Greenhouse Gasses or
not. By following some basic auditing processes of Greenhouse gas
emissions there can be a better idea of how they are affecting our
environment. The five leading pharmaceutical industries to be targeted are:
1. Eli Lilly
2. Abbott laboratories
3. Merck
4. Pfizer
5. Baxter
Eli Lilly, located in Carolina, Puerto Rico opened its doors in 1960. They focus
their production in medicine with treatments in the area of Oncology,
cardiovascular, diabetes, critical care, neuroscience, mens health and
musculoskeletal fields (8). Abbott laboratories has a network of plants
around the island and they focus their production on medical devices
including eye surgery devices. Merck, Pfizer and Baxter are other

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pharmaceutical industries which have several plants around the island which
produce either medical treatment pills or medical devices. All these
industries have in common that they need the clean air act to operate but
also they do not seem to keep track of the Greenhouse gasses emissions. It
should not be of big surprise that this happens. Greenhouse gases are not
considered toxic so they are not seen as important as Carbon Monoxide,
Lead, Nitrogen dioxide or other toxic gases. The negative side of this is that
the effects produced by greenhouse gasses are long term because they have
significant effects on the environment. Also as a fact it is important to know
that Greenhouse gases tend to stay in the environment for even more than
100 years. (9)
If we want to save the planet and Puerto Rico from disaster, a better
approach should be given to these types of gases. A persistent audit on the
amounts of them that are emitted to the air should be monitored and
possibly controlled. A simple test to the exhaust tubes should be enough.
Finding a tendency on the number that they emit should be enough to either
know that no adjustments are needed or otherwise establish a plan on how
to limit this production.
The tabulation of data should have the information on time of the day,
date, amount of each greenhouse gas and amount of activity in the plant at
the moment. This should be done twice a month to better understand the
effects that Pharmaceutical industries are having in the environment. This is
not an expensive task but definitely one that can save us from some drastic
future struggles.
If the number received is high, there are some other methods that can
be implemented to reduce the negative effect on the environment. Adding
filters to the exhaust lines should be enough but that will be further
explained. For now our goal and plan is to reduce the amount of greenhouse

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gases in the environment to put a stop to the negative effects that are being
experienced around the island. Our economy should not be affected by the
activity in industries and the only way to avoid that is first obtaining data on
what is being emitted to the environment.
The pharmaceutical industry with the highest number of Carbon
Dioxide emission will be supplied with a filter to limit the emissions of such
harmful gas. We propose an alternate method for the disposal of this gas in
the form of recycling it for selling it to other companies to be used as fuel or
any other purpose. This can be achieved by modifying the current process of
combustion that pharmaceutics carry out. As the vapor, consisting of a
carbon dioxide and water mixture, exits the combustion reactor, instead of
entering a separation column, we suggest directing it to a gas-liquid
separator via copper pipes. This separator will be cold, so that the water
steam will condense, changing its state from gas to liquid. These copper
pipes are used because they are economic and just as efficient as any other
pipes related to this process, for the use of CO2. This separator will work as
a trap for the water, so that the carbon dioxide will escape into the pipeline
leading to the CO2 compressor instead of releasing it into the environment.
This compressor will compress the CO2, allowing high pressures of CO2 to
be stored into high pressure tanks. The compressor and these tanks are
connected via copper pipelines as well. These gas tanks filled with the
carbon dioxide from the combustion reaction can be sold to companies like
distilleries or refineries for them to use as fuel for different industrial
processes. With this method we can eliminated the carbon dioxide emissions
and recycle at the same time while coming across a new form of income for
the company.

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Diagram 1: Shows the process of how


the combustion reaction residues will
be converted to pure CO2 gas

Combustion Reactor

Water
condensation

Vapor gas: CO2 +


H2O

Gas-liquid
Separator

CO2

Compressor

Tank

Tank

Tank

CO2

CO2

CO2

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Diagram 2: Schematic view of the


system to be implemented

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Methods
The project will be divided into 5 main phases to ensure an efficient and
smooth course of work:
1- The first phase will consist of gathering the personnel from the
pharmaceutical company including the chemical and mechanical
engineers who are expected to run the project and explaining the main
problem thats being targeted and the plan of work that will be
followed to fix said problem. Some employees will be required to take
a month-long training to prepare them for working with the new
system.
2- The second phase consists of gathering information on the exhaust
fumes in the five leading pharmaceutical industries to determine which
one expels the most Carbon Dioxide. This measurements will be done
by regular sampling and testing in laboratories which perform these
tasks at a low cost.
3- For the one who leads in the category of Carbon Dioxide the next step
consists in buying the equipment needed for the project and installing
said equipment (better explained in the two diagrams above) in buying
the equipment needed for the project and installing said equipment.
This includes making the necessary modifications to the already
existing combustion system to fit the goal.
4- The third phase will consist of test running the new system. This
means checking for gas and water leaks and generally making sure
that the system is working properly. Hands-on training will be held for
previously-trained employees to ensure the equipment is being
properly handled.
5- The final phase consists of running the system for production and
observing changes.

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Scope
If nothing is done about the struggles that we are phasing as Puerto Ricans,
the situation regarding our environment will keep getting worse. By
implementing the appropriate filter in the pharmaceutical industry which
produces the most Carbon Dioxide, a first step towards a safer environment
is being taken. There will be guidelines to follow to ensure the safety of the
employees working with and around the new system. This will include all the
details for every phase of the project, safety regulations and steps to
execute simple CO2 test samples from the system. In terms of time, this
project is destined to be up and running in around one year. Testing of CO 2
will take place in approximately 3 months and the retrofit of the filter should
be ready in other 3 months. A few months of spare are given to ensure the
safety of employees and after this just keeping track of changes is the goal.
As for deadlines, the sooner we attack the situation, the better. We cannot
keep contaminating the environment at the rate that we are doing it so
changes are necessary now.

Personnel
Engineers and people specialized in the plant area of a pharmaceutical
industry are an essential part of them. Those are the ones that will make
this project work and make it as efficient as possible. The original plan will
be taken to them so that they understand that the industry will be going
through a process of data collecting emissions produced. As for the first
step, they will be an important part of us because they know where every
process takes place. If their plant was identified as the most contaminant to
the environment they will be the ones trained to understand the filter

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process so that it can operate correctly. They will undergo safety courses so
that none of them get harmed throughout the process and after the decision
is made to start the project they will be working along with technicians to
make everything work the way it is supposed to.

Costs
The total cost of this project is approximately $50,100.00. In this estimate,
the prices of all the new equipment are included. The breakdown of the
budget is presented in the following table:

Materials

Cost

Pipes and instruments

$15,000.00

Gas-liquid separator

$100.00

Compression equipment

$25,000.00

Vessels

$10,000.00

Total: $50,100.00

This budget only includes the prices for the equipment to be installed and
does not include the subsequent money needed for the proper maintenance
of it.

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Conclusion
Not all hope is lost. Research on emissions of Carbon Dioxide to the
environment showed that this type of documentation is clearly scarce
throughout industries in Puerto Rico especially pharmaceutical plants. Having
this one as a leading industry, studies on the impact that they are having on
the environment cannot be forgotten at any moment. Within the studies
made, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) cannot be put to the side. As previously
mentioned, Greenhouse Gasses include a mix of four gases which are
Carbon Dioxide, methane, ozone and water vapor. Carbon Dioxide tends to
be the highest because it is produced in combustion processes. It is already
known that power plants and cars produce big amounts of this gas, but no
studies are done to prove the effects of pharmaceutical industries in this
effect. With this proposal, gathering data as the first step in the leading
pharmaceutical industries such as Eli Lilly, Abbott laboratories, Merck, Pfizer
and Baxter will give us a better idea of the amounts of gas that they are
producing. When a number is established, choosing the highest producer to
install a filter system would be the following step. This should produce a
significant difference on the effect that this plant is producing to the
environment and if this is the final outcome, more money can be requested
for similar projects on other leading industries. The goal right now is to save
the planet form CO2 contamination and starting in our own island is a good
first step.

References
(1) http://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/climate-science/greenhouse-effect
(2) http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/bernstein-greenhouse-gases-health-threat/
(3) http://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/

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(4) http://www.topuertorico.org/economy.shtml
(5) http://www.pharmaceuticalonline.com/doc/puerto-ricos-pharmaceutical-industry-40-years0003
(6) http://www.drna.gobierno.pr/oficinas/arn/recursosvivientes/costasreservasrefugios/pmzc/
prccc/prccc-2013/PRCCC_ExecutiveSummary_ElectronicVersion_English.pdf
(7) http://www.srh.noaa.gov/sju/?n=rainfallrecord_0718
(8) http://www.lilly.com/products/Pages/default.aspx
(9) http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jan/16/greenhouse-gases-remain-air