Design of a Sustainable Manufacturing Process to Produce Penicillin V Using Waste Paper as a Glucose Feedstock; The Analysis of Pharmaceutical Waste in Aquatic Environment Using the Actor Network Theory

Wang, Shining, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Anderson, Eric, University of Virginia
Elliott, Travis, University of Virginia

My technical and STS paper both center around the topic of pharmaceutical products. Together, these projects highlight social, environmental, and safety concerns in the life cycles of pharmaceuticals and provide suggestions for potential improvements in public health overall.

My technical project aims to design a large-scale penicillin V manufacturing plant in South Africa using the conversion of waste paper to glucose as a carbon source. The main motivations behind this project are the development of emerging economies with projected growth within the pharmaceutical industry and the transition to net carbon neutral industrial production processes. The final design of the process involves the production of glucose from waste paper, the fermentation of Penicillium chrysogenum to produce penicillin, and the purification and crystallization to produce penicillin V potassium salt crystals. This proposed operation yields 330 metric tons of penicillin V annually while significantly reducing the overall environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

My STS project studies the occurrence of pharmaceutical residues in the waterways and analyzes the major stakeholders in this sociotechnical system as well as the dynamics of the system. Specifically, the project uses the Actor Network Theory to detail interactions among pharmaceutical companies, sewage treatment companies, and the environmental and health agencies and the nuances in their primary interests in partaking in the reduction of pharmaceutical content in water systems. The relationship between each actor shapes the entire network and provides valuable insights into constructing a sustainable solution to achieve the network goal.

BS (Bachelor of Science)

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Eric Anderson

STS Advisor: S. Travis Elliott

Technical Team Members: Patrick Bruns, Justin Harrington, Nathan Ruppert, Kingsford Yeboah

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