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Friday, 11 July 2014 11:42

 

LEADING UK UNIVERSITY TO TRIAL EMERGING CLINICAL WASTE DISPOSAL TECH


The University of York and a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer has partnered with PyroPure Ltd, the UK pioneer of micro-scale waste disposal, in order to trial its PyroPure® technology before the system is made available to the clinical waste disposal industry.

The collaboration follows Knowledge Transfer Partnership funding from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, which aims to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity by capitalising on the UK’s knowledge base.

The trial aims to demonstrate PyroPure® technology’s capability of destroying the most thermally resistant Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and is the last step the firm has to take before its viability for pharmaceutically contaminated waste is approved by the Environment Agency.

Professor Alistair Boxall, of the University’s Environment Department, who specialises in understanding emerging and future ecological health risks posed by chemical contaminants in the natural environment, and the Department of Chemistry’s Professor Jane Thomas-Oates, whose expertise covers biological mass spectrometry, will lead the study.

Professor Alistair Boxall comments: “Current practices for treatment of pharmaceutical-containing wastes have high economic and environmental costs. In this trial we will use state-of-the-art methods for detecting pharmaceuticals and their breakdown products to understand if the system is capable of utilising pyrolysis to a high enough standard that would make the technology a safe and sustainable on-site waste disposal solution in clinical and pharmaceutical environments.”

To date the technology has been subject to over 15,000 hours of in-house testing at PyroPure Ltd’s headquarters in Bordon, Hampshire, using a wide spectrum of hazardous waste substances. The University of York will trial waste typically found at the participating pharmaceutical manufacturer’s site, bulked pharmaceutical waste containing high levels of tablets and medical sharps waste.

Peter Selkirk, PyroPure Ltd’s Executive Chairman, adds: “Partnering with a leading academic institution renowned for its work in the environmental science and chemistry sphere is a huge step forward for the technology that the team has worked so hard to develop. We’re now receiving a high level of interest not just from institutions and organisations that could benefit from our technology but also from eminent funding bodies that are eager to see PyroPure® technology go to market.”

The system, which is the size of a chest freezer, processes 8kg of hazardous waste per cycle and can dispose of 17 tonnes per year. PyroPure® technology is expected to revolutionise the clinical and pharmaceutical waste disposal industry by negating the need for storage and collection, thus eliminating lorry miles required to transport waste to the UK’s incinerators.

Incineration is currently the only route to dispose of pharmaceutical and chemically contaminated waste. Whereas current Alternative Treatment Technologies sanitise clinical waste PyroPure® destroys it.

It is estimated that the system will reduce the cost of disposal of waste from clinical environments in the UK by approximately 66 per cent.