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Novo Nordisk to switch to 100% renewable electricity

By Fiona Barry +

26-Nov-2015
Last updated on 26-Nov-2015 at 10:57 GMT2015-11-26T10:57:50Z

Novo Nordisk's China facilities will use wind energy farmed in Inner Mongolia
Novo Nordisk's China facilities will use wind energy farmed in Inner Mongolia

Novo Nordisk plans to switch all its production plants worldwide to renewable energy, including wind, by 2020.

The Danish insulin maker said it will phase out using electricity that creates CO2 emissions at sites in China, the US, France, Russia, Algeria and Iran. Novo Nordisk facilities in Denmark, Brazil and Japan already use electricity from renewable sources.

In the past, the company has used energy from coal, natural gas and nuclear sources.

Last month the company’s site in Tianjin, China signed an agreement to purchase electricity from a windmill farm in Inner Mongolia. The Danish facilities have a long-term contract with domestic power company Dong Energy to also supply wind farm energy.

Costs

Setting an absolute target of zero CO2 emissions from electricity at all our global production sites in just five years is ambitious, as our production is growing to meet the increasing global demand for our diabetes products,” said Henrik Wulff, executive vice president and head of product supply.

But wind-based energy is not a “one-size-fits-all solution,” said Wulff, and the company says it will identify the most efficient renewable energy sources for each country it manufactures in.

Switching to renewable electricity makes sense from both a climate and a cost perspective. As more companies invest in renewable electricity, the technology is likely to get even more efficient and less costly,” he added.

Spokesperson Charlotte Zarp-Andersson told in-Pharmatechnologist.com the switch is not a direct cost-saving move:

Some renewable sourcing comes with a premium cost, but we hope to see also renewable energy with no cost attached to the purchase as solar, wind etc. becomes more common and the technology develops.

“We do not expect to save money on sourcing of renewable energy. We prioritise energy efficiency first and foremost and this is where the money is saved – and can serve as the revenue covering possible extra cost of renewables.

Biogas

Along with Novo Nordisk, Biogen, Johnson & Johnson, DSM, and SGS are among the multinationals which have signed RE100, a pledge to use 100% renewable electricity.

Novo Nordisk did not reveal how much power it uses at any of its sites, but the figure will be several hundreds of thousands of MWhs. Its spokesperson told us Novo Nordisk is also going green in its waste disposal:

The yeast slurry from our fermentation processes, which we call organic residues, together with ethanol waste from the purification processes is used for biogas production in biogas plants. Such gas is considered carbon neutral and can replace natural gas.

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