Biomass energy facility at GSK in Dungarvan reduces carbon emissions by 33% in just 18 months

Carbon reduction is equivalent of taking 6,000 cars off the road

To mark World Environment Day (June 5), GSK, one of the world’s leading healthcare companies, is delighted to announce that its purpose-built biomass energy facility located at its manufacturing site in Dungarvan, Co Waterford has reduced the site’s carbon emissions by over 33% in just 18 months.

GSK, who celebrate 36 years in Dungarvan this year, employ over 750 employees at two sites in the area. The ‘over-the-counter’ medical site produces a variety of medicinal products such as Panadol – in fact 6.5 billion Panadol tablets are produced in Dungarvan annually and exported to over 70 countries. The ‘oral care’ facility produces 40% of the world’s supply of denture care products under the Poligrip and Polident brands.

The biomass energy facility was developed by GSK at a cost of €8 million. The biomass operation, which began operating in November 2016, now provides 100% of the requirements for heat, hot water and steam at the Dungarvan site. The facility, which replaced oil burning boilers, uses locally sourced woodchips to create a carbon neutral fuel source for the site. Since it was installed, it has achieved a carbon saving of 5,570 tonnes, which is the equivalent of taking 6,000 cars off the road. Kevin Meehan, Engineer Director, GSK Dungarvan added: “Our investment in the biomass facility highlighted our commitment to the local community, our employees and the importance of supporting local green initiatives. We worked with local suppliers on the build and are using locally sourced woodchip to run the facility. 18 months on, we’re delighted with the carbon savings achieved so far. The biomass facility is just one of many environmentally friendly activities we are putting in place to make GSK Dungarvan more sustainable and, more importantly, make Dungarvan an even better place to work and live.”

The biomass energy facility utilises a sustainable fuel supply, as the wood chip it burns is made from waste wood by-product and the small amounts of ash produced are sold on for use in fertiliser, which grows more trees. The woodchip is sourced in Ireland through Coillte, and GSK require one lorry load per day to fuel the facility.

The development of the biomass energy facility in Dungarvan is part of GSK’s global sustainability strategy which supports the company’s carbon neutral policy. This policy has set challenging carbon, water and waste reduction targets for all GSK manufacturing sites across the world. Dungarvan has responded with significant reductions in energy usage across its plant, delivered by highly efficient, world class engineering and energy management systems.