Grifols operates in geographic areas prone to water shortages. As a result, the company applies watersaving measures when designing new facilities and modifies existing facilities to reduce water consumption. These measures include recovering water used in production processes for auxiliary purposes and reducing the amount of water used to clean reactors through automated CIP cleaning systems.
As a result, the company is able to rationalize its water consumption while expanding its industrial activity. Grifols established water-saving measures at 75% of its manufacturing facilities, representing more than 95% of their production.
Grifols reported 3,185,460 m3 in total water consumption in 2019, 4% less than in 2018. The Bioscience Division, which represents close to 80% of Grifols’ total revenues, decreased its water consumption by 6.4% despite a 9.8% increase in production output. This significant downturn stems from the roll-out of several water-saving initiatives, such as the replacement of several reverse osmosis units. On the other hand, the Hospital Division increased its consumption due mainly to an increase in production shifts in its Murcia plant compared to 2018.
In 2019, more than 80% of water consumption occurred in non-water-stressed regions, thus 18.2% of water consumption occurred in water-stressed regions. The Bioscience Division maintained similar levels compared to the previous year. The Diagnostic Division reduced its levels as a result of consolidating the production of the Emeryville plant to a single, more energy-efficient building.
In terms of water sources, 89% of the water consumed came from water mains and 11% from wells located in the Barcelona production facilities.
Grifols complies with all applicable legislation and authorizations regarding the elimination of wastewater in all of its installations. Wastewater is purified in proprietary or municipal treatment systems and discharged into the public sewage system. In 2019, 2.18 million of m3 of wastewater was discharged into the public sewage system, which represents a decrease of 17.4% in relation to 2.64 million of m3 of the previous year. Of the water consumed, 68.4% (79.7% in 2018) became wastewater and the remaining 31.6% (20.3% in 2018) was used in auxiliary processes that do not generate industrial discharge, such as the cooling towers or incorporated into the product during the manufacturing process. The Bioscience Division’s facilities in Barcelona and Clayton treat wastewater in-house with biological systems prior to discharge.
With regard to the distribution of discharges in waterstressed regions, there were no significant variations in the Bioscience Division compared to 2018. This level improved in the Diagnostic Division as a result of consolidating its manufacturing operations into a single, more energy-efficient facility.
In 2019, electricity consumption compared to sales represented an energy intensity of 166,219 kWh kWh / €M. This means a 5.6% of reduction compared to 2018 (175,995 kWh / €M). Grifols includes in its current environmental program the use of 68 million kWh of renewable electricity to support the company’s objective of reducing CO2 emissions by 23,400 tons per year.
In 2019, Grifols consumed a total of 409.3 million kWh, compared to 384.0 million kWh in 2018. The Bioscience Division represented 86% of Grifols’ total electricity consumption. This increase in absolute values stems from the expansion of Grifols’ plasma donation network in the U.S. and Germany as part of its acquisition strategy to increase its access to plasma. Similarly, production output increased in the division’s three plants (Barcelona, Los Angeles and Clayton), while electrical consumption grew at lower rates. Moreover, the Ireland plant expanded its number of manufacturing lines and also increased its production output in existing lines.
The Diagnostic Division’s electricity usage was 32.7 million kWh, 5% less than in 2018. The Hospital Division accounts for the remaining 3.8% of the total electricity consumed. Its energy consumption in absolute values was 15.7 million kWh, a 4% decrease compared to the previous year as a result of the decision to relocate most of the division’s production to a more energy-efficient facility in Murcia.
In terms of electricity consumption by region, the U.S. has the highest levels since this is where several production facilities and 95% of Grifols’ plasma centers are located.
Spain, Ireland and the U.S. collectively consumed 8,283,035 kWh in renewable energy.
In the Bioscience Division’s production facilities, the increase in production output exceeded the increase in electrical consumption.
Natural gas consumption in 2019 was 438.2 million kWh, 8% higher than that consumed in 2018. The Bioscience Division accounts for 88.6% (86.5% in 2018) of this total. Of this, 29.5% comes from its cogeneration plant in Spain, whose production increased by 22% in 2019.
The Diagnostic Division decreased its consumption of natural gas by 4.8%, while consumption in the Hospital Division increased by 15% over 2018 due to an increase in production shifts in the Murcia plant.
By region, Spain and the United States – where most of the Bioscience Division’s manufacturing activities are located – accounted for the majority of Grifols’ electricity and natural gas consumption.
Although to a lesser extent than natural gas, the Bioscience Division also consumes other fuels such as diesel, gasoline and propane for its power generators, equipment and its vehicles. The division consumed 4,951 MWh in 2019, a 35.8% decline compared to 2018 due to efforts made in the U.S. plant to reduce diesel consumption in favor of natural gas.
The Bioscience Division’s installations in Barcelona are equipped with a 6.1 MW cogeneration plant. This plant generates electricity which is sold back to the grid, as well as useful heat utilized in Grifols’ own facilities. In 2019, the electricity sold to the grid amounted to 40,567 MW and the cogeneration plant led to a primary energy saving (PES) of 13.9% and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 3,363 tons compared to emissions generated by conventional plants.
In 2019, cogeneration time increased by more than 23%, significantly boosting the production of electrical energy and recovery of useful heat.
Sustainable consumption and production require promoting the efficient use of energy and resources.
Plasma is the main raw material consumed by the Bioscience Division whereas ethanol, polyethylene glycol and sorbitol, among other materials, are used during the fractionation and purification processes of different plasma proteins.
In 2019, Grifols fractionated more than 11 million liters of plasma, a process that entails extracting proteins that have therapeutic properties for use in Grifols’ products. During fractionation, plasma is subjected to different variations of temperature, pH and alcohol concentration (ethanol) levels. Each adjustment facilitates the precipitation of one of these proteins. Once all of the therapeutic proteins have been extracted from the plasma, the remaining solids are discarded. Although waste-management practices vary depending on the product and region in question, these solids may be discharged to controlled landfills for non-hazardous waste, facilities dedicated to the manufacture of substitute solid fuel (for cases when the pulp has a certain calorific value), anaerobic digestion or autoclave management.
On the other hand, plasma not suitable for fractionation is managed through authorized incineration plants. In relation to other raw materials, 72.5% (70.8% in 2018) of ethanol consumed was recovered in distillation towers and reutilized in Grifols’ installations.
Plastic is the main raw material used by the Diagnostic Division to manufacture DG Gel® diagnostic cards. In addition, it is used for base panels in machines (39,144 units in 2019) and red-blood-cell reagents in diagnostic kits (234,382 liters en 2019). PVC is also used to manufacture storage and collection bags for blood components.
In 2019, polypropylene used to manufacture bags for intravenous solutions was the primary raw material consumed by the Hospital Division. Its other raw materials are used to produce saline solutions, glucose solutions and packaging.