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10 Mar 2017

Publication in the Danish magazine Optimering: Xellia's Focus on Energy Consumption

Written by Dong Energy in partnership with Xellia, the article highlights Xellia's efforts in energy consumption reduction. To view the original article published in Optimering, please click here and see pages 10-13. The original article is written in Danish, which has been translated to English by Xellia Pharmaceuticals. 

Xellia Pharmaceuticals reviews its energy consumption
In just under two years, Xellia has managed to save what corresponds to the annual energy consumption of 550 households. 

The Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry use a lot of energy. However, there is a significant energy saving potential. Several of the industry’s giants, e.g. Novo Nordisk, Novozymes and Chr. Hansen, have already benefited from this. In collaboration with Dong Energy, they have reduced their annual energy bills with hundreds of millions. Even for companies that are not among the largest in the business, it makes sense to review energy consumption. 

Environmental effects and costs
Keeping an eye on energy consumption is important in regards to economic aspects as well as towards the ambitions of being socially responsible. That these two areas go hand in hand has been proven by the Danish division of the pharmaceutical company Xellia. Since Fall 2015, Xellia in Denmark has increased its focus on converting energy consumption to save the climate from unnecessary CO2 emissions and to keep track of energy bills.

“We always make efforts to increase responsibility and improve sustainability. Financial goals and social responsibility must go hand in hand” says Jesper Skærbæk, Environment, Health and Safety Manager at Xellia. 

Xellia has a long tradition of ensuring high safety-level in research, development and supply of medical products. In the same way, environmental responsibility is important for our operation, and that is why it is natural for us to look at our energy consumption in order to minimize the impact on the environment”, Jesper Skærbæk explains.

From management to dedicated employees
Thus, efforts to reduce energy consumption at Xellia is anchored at a high strategic level. Activities to realize ambitions and strategy is carried out by dedicated employees. Niklas Ahrfeldt-Larvig, responsible for DONG Energy’s Business Customer Service Center, says that this is the way it often is.

“We are collaborating with some of the largest companies in Denmark, and time and time again we see that energy savings and responsibility are integrated into the way of running business. This is the way to create impact and drive growth. It starts with the management who then depend on company culture to inspire employees to realize ambitions".

Saving millions
At Xellia, Rasmus Friche was hired to lead the Energy Optimization Program which accelerated efforts to save energy. In less than two years, Rasmus and his colleagues have worked with energy consultants from DONG Energy and identified more than 50 energy saving initiatives of which 10 have already been completed. This means that Xellia’s site in Denmark now uses just below 2 million kWh less than in 2015. This corresponds to the annual consumption of 550 households. Regarding the efforts to identify energy saving initiatives, Project Manager Rasmus Friche from Xellia says:

“I came to Xellia from Chr. Hansen, who has also had great results working with DONG Energy. In collaboration with DONG Energy’s consultant Jens Christian Aggerbeck, we mapped out Xellia’s energy consumption, and it was clear, that there was a significant energy saving potential. This was true for both ventilation, lighting and insulation”. 

Especially one area accounts for a surprisingly large part of the total savings, says Jens Christian Aggerbeck:

“Like all other pharmaceutical companies I have worked with, Xellia has very high standards for sterile environments. This applies to fermentation tanks in particular, and therefore, the piping system is kept under constant steam. Through the screenings, we saw a potential for reducing the steam waste significantly. Way too much energy was wasted in this process”.

We quickly decided to focus on automatizing manual processes, Rasmus Friche elaborates:
“The use of vapor barriers ensures that our process is sterile, and it can be finelyadjusted by the use of automatized valves, instead of letting the steam out manually. It is far more difficult to control the outlet when you do not know the exact basis. With automatization of processes, we are now creating this basis".


Savings are expensive
New vapor barriers, change of lighting and new heat control cost a lot of money. We need to invest in order to obtain savings. This has also been true for Xellia. However, due to DONG Energy’s energy savings scheme and savings that will reach 10% in no time, the payback period of investments is less than three years.

Xellia Pharmaceuticals
Xellia Pharmaceuticals is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on providing important anti-infective treatments against serious and often life-threatening infections. With over 100 years of experience Xellia is a leading developer, manufacturer and trusted supplier of fermented and semi-synthetic Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and Injectable Finished Dosage Forms (FDFs) to the pharmaceutical industry. The Company has growing sales in more than 70 countries to over 500 customers across the healthcare industry. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark; Xellia has global facilities including operational and manufacturing capabilities in Denmark, USA, Hungary and China, and currently employs over 1,300 people.


Since July 2013, Xellia has been wholly owned by Novo A/S, the holding Company of the Novo Group.


- This article has been written by DONG Energy in partnership with Xellia Pharmaceuticals. Please find the original document here.