GSK Dungarvan Biomass Energy Plant
GSK’s new Biomass Energy Plant is one of only two such facilities in Ireland. The facility is designed to produce and channel steam, which it does through 5km of piping. Steam is an essential part of the manufacturing process in Dungarvan where 6.5 billion Panadol tablets and 400m Poligrip tubes are made annually.
Dungarvan is one of GSK’s premier worldwide production sites where a range of oral care and medicinal products are made. Its output is exported to 70 countries worldwide and over 700 people are employed onsite to keep production running on a 24/7 basis. Consistently achieving such high output volumes relies on a high degree of automation supported by world class engineering standards and this is embodied in Dungarvan’s Biomass Energy plant.
The Biomass Energy Plant is in essence a huge boiler system where woodchip is burned to produce the heat that creates the steam. This process was previously achieved with oil fired burners which the Biomass has now replaced. This has resulted in a 33% reduction in the site’s CO2 output and a substantial saving on annual fuel costs – good for the efficiency of the factory and good for the local environment.
Biomass is a highly efficient fuel with a positive fuel cycle. Woodchip is a by product of the forestry industry created from shredded waste wood and off-cuts. This is collected and supplied as a commercial fuel which is burned to produce the steam needed for industrial processes. The waste product from the process, ash, is periodically collected and used as an ingredient in natural fertiliser - which is then used to grow more trees! The woodchip used to power the Biomass Energy facility is sourced from a radius of 50-70 miles around Dungarvan.
GSK green lit the €8m investment in the construction of the Biomass Energy plant as it fitted well with our long-term aims of achieving carbon neutral status for its manufacturing sites by 2050. It also made sound commercial sense as the savings made on oil costs result in a project payback of 7-8 years. Woodchip is also has highly efficient energy conversion ratio of 87%. In addition the plant is fully automated and requires minimal operational input.
GSK Dungarvan’s Biomass Energy plant is a high tech solution exploiting a very old process – the burning of wood for heat, to achieve an environmentally sound and sustainable power source for the future production of GSK medicinal products.
At GSK, we believe how we do business is as important as what we do – it’s what makes us different - so we are challenging industry norms by changing the way we work.