New interactive lab highlights pharma energy efficiency

7 Feb 2012

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Pictured at the 'plug and play' laboratory experience at the Waldner Ireland energy-efficient lab yesterday was managing director Noel Hodgins (foreground), along with other Waldner employees

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Ireland has a new energy-efficient lab for academics and pharmaceutical companies to dabble with. Waldner Ireland is behind the lab, which aims to show scientists and academics in the pharma space how they can alter their behaviour in relation to energy efficiency when carrying out lab work, so they can lower their energy output by up to 40pc.

Capitalising on Ireland’s pharma industry explosion, German company Waldner GmbH recently expanded its lab furniture offering to set up an Irish base. It was a joint venture between Waldner GmbH and Noel Hodgins, managing director, Waldner Ireland, with both Hodgins and the parent company investing €300,000 to launch the new company in Ireland.

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association has indicated that Ireland’s pharmaceutical industry generates more than 50pc of the country’s exports, making Ireland the second-largest net exporter of medicines in the world. And right now 13 of the top 15 pharma companies in the world have operations in Ireland.

On the jobs front, Waldner Ireland is aiming to take on 16 new hires in 2012, as it anticipates an €8m turnover. Waldner already supplies lab spaces to companies in Ireland such as Genzyme, Pfizer and ISPEN and to academic institutions such as University College Cork and Dublin City University.

Plug and Play lab experience

Yesterday, Waldner held what it called a ‘plug and play’ laboratory experience at the lab, which is based at the company’s Ballycoolin base in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin. At the open day, representatives from Irish universities and pharmaceutical companies tested out the energy-efficient scientific research laboratory for themselves.

Some of the sustainability-driven aspects of the lab Waldner has pioneered include a real-time dashboard or laboratory touch interface that monitors energy consumption of lab fittings and linked-up heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

The lab aims to encourage user interaction as opposed to direct analysis, with the goal of reducing energy output by 40pc, explained Christian Meichsner, laboratory carbon emissions expert and head of Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning solutions at Waldner.

Meichsner said visitors to the lab could interact with the interface, as well as viewing the fume cupboards.

User interaction

Waldner is liaising with University of Bradford to research the most effective ways of encouraging user interaction.

"Interestingly, users respond optimally to smiley faces on the communication interface. By plugging in information, for example, if the user is away from the lab the system will then decide and respond by dimming the lights and switching the heating off and automatically adjusting the laboratory ventilation," explained Meichsner.

‘Pharmaceutical centre’ of the world

Also speaking yesterday was Waldner Ireland managing director Noel Hodgins, who described Ireland as being "the pharmaceutical centre" of the world.

"Universities have placed a huge emphasis on improving lab facilities as more and more students enrol in science-related courses and they are becoming higher-profile, industry-linked facilities. The mass migration of pharmaceutical companies to Ireland has also seen a concentration on lab work. We have worked to provide a product that is both safety conscious, sustainable and energy efficient," added Hodgins.

Carmel was a long-time reporter with Siliconrepublic.com

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