Sustainable Engineering

SERUM - Development of a sector-specific sustainability assessment methodology for pharmaceutical product and process development

Various research activities for “sustainable pharmacology” are currently carried out and funded in order to make pharmaceutical manufacturing processes more efficient and to reduce emissions of pharmaceutical residues. Yet, statements on the environmental effects of a pharmaceutical procedure or product or about the superiority or equivalence of products can only be made, if environmental effects along the life cycle of pharmaceutical products is carried out. The life cycle assessment method is one option, but cannot yet adequately take into account many of the environmental impacts relevant in the pharmaceutical sector (e.g. emissions of endocrine disruptors, use of biotic raw materials). In addition, the life cycle assessment offers many methodological liberties with regard to the definition of the system boundaries, the selection of indicators, etc., which in practice means that life cycle assessments in the pharmaceutical sector are often not comparable or can even produce contradicting results. The goal is to solve these challenges by developing a "sector-specific sustainability assessment methodology for pharmaceutical product and process development" by:

  • Harmonizing the modeling of the inventory and adding pharmaceutical aspects
  • Creating a consistent and relevant set of indicators, which also contains newly developed impact assessment models for environmental issues relevant in the pharmaceutical sector
  • Carrying out practical case studies within a project support group bringing together companies in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Running two pilot projects to develop product category rules (PCRs) for pharmaceutical products and processes
  • Developing a concept for a web-based tool “PharmLCA” for the simplified implementation of life cycle assessments

The main goal of this research project is to make a "sustainable pharmacy" as scientifically robust as possible and measurable in practice.

Project duration: 01 June 2016 – 31 May 2019


Dr.-Ing. Annekatrin Lehmann (Project lead)
Room Z 105
Phone +49 (0)30 314-79501
Fax +49 (0) 30 314-21720
E-mail: annekatrin.lehmann(at)

M.Sc. Marc-William Siegert (Applied LCA, PCR)
Room Z 210
Phone +49 (0) 30 314-28452
Fax +49 (0) 30 314-21720
E-mail: marc.siegert(at)

M.Sc. Yasmine Emara (Applied LCA, LCIA)
Room Z 206
Phone +49 (0) 30 314-26179
Fax +49 (0) 30 314-21720
E-mail: y.emara(at)