Application of Indicators for Assessing Environmental Aspects of Chemical Processes to Case Studies From Pharmaceutical Production


  • Ulrich Fischer
  • Konrad Hungerbühler



Case studies, Environmental indicators, Fine chemical production, Green chemistry, Integrated process design


As a result of legislation and increasing public awareness, environmental considerations are given more and more importance in chemical process design. Furthermore, the focus in environmental protection has shifted from end-of-pipe technologies to improvements of the chemical processes. The realization of such improvements, on one hand, requires chemical or technical innovations (new molecules, new synthesis routes, new process designs) and, on the other hand, assessment methods are needed that deliver an objective comparison of process alternatives on appropriately defined system boundaries.Four different indicators for assessing the environmental impact of chemical processes are discussed: Mass Loss Indices (MLI), Environmental Indices (EI), a comprehensive EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) assessment method, and Eco-Indicator 95, an evaluation method used in the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) framework. These methods are summarized, compared, and applied to case studies from the chemical industry. Finally, the corresponding results are discussed and conclusions on the capability and limitations of the different indicators are drawn, in particular with regard to their applicability during the early phases of process development.




How to Cite

U. Fischer, K. Hungerbühler, Chimia 2000, 54, 494, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2000.494.



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