Case Study

GlaxoSmithKline Irvine


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are a global producer of pharmaceutical products. They have multiple plants around the world, with 18 plant sites within the UK.  Out of their UK plants, the Irvine one is the largest and most energy intensive due to its size.


The Irvine site demand averages 20 MW electricity and 18MW thermal which accounts for 14% of GSK’s total energy consumption. The energy costs per annum are approximately £17M. The plant produces between 60-70% of the world’s supply of Augmentin, a broad spectrum antibiotic, through a continuous process. GSK are keen to reduce their carbon emissions, which is further emphasised by their corporate aim to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2020 compared to 2010 levels.


The site’s high energy demands have been another main driver to increase on-site energy generation. Due to their size, GSK are at a high risk of being asked to turn off if UK grid electricity becomes scarce.  Because of the nature of the processes on site, if their energy supply is interrupted it can result in a large financial loss for the company.


On-Site Generation


Currently, GSK Irvines's on site generation consists of:

2.5 MW wind turbines (x2)

1 MW biogas plant

4 MW natural gas CHP


Future Plans


The company are also considering an installation of a biomass CHP plant to help meet their high heat and power demands.