Bausch + Lomb has commissioned a new combined heat and power (CHP) generating plant which will supply its Waterford manufacturing plant with 60 per cent of its electricity needs and 80 per cent of its thermal energy requirements. Mayor of Waterford, Cllr John Cummins, officially switched on the CHP plant on 29 June, which has sufficient capacity to supply 9,000 homes with electricity in an opening ceremony at the contact lens and eye healthcare manufacturing facility, which employs 1,100 people on Waterford Industrial Estate. The plant, run on grid-connected natural gas, will save 6,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year, and is one of the biggest of its kind in Ireland. The investment is supported by the Irish Government’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the Industrial Development Agency (IDA). Angelo Conti, Bausch + Lomb vice president, manufacturing, said: “I am delighted to be here today at the official opening by the Mayor of Waterford of the combined heat and power plant which confirms the company’s commitment to continue to invest in our Waterford facility. Some years ago, Bausch + Lomb developed and launched a plan to identify and improve its environmental and social impacts. This included adopting a broad sustainability policy for the business, centred on understanding not only the needs of our patients and customers, but also environmental, employee and community needs. “This approach has resulted in a substantial reduction in our environmental impact and significant energy cost savings. Bausch + Lomb Waterford has taken the ethos of this plan to heart and has dramatically demonstrated what is possible in terms of reducing the impact of manufacturing on the environment,” said Angelo Conti.

Expansion of the facility

Damian Finn, general manager, Bausch + Lomb, Waterford, said the investment in the new plant is part of a major expansion of the facility in response to the very strong demand for the Biotrue range of products manufactured on site. “We’re on track to complete the plant extension which will increase the manufacturing footprint to 500,000 square feet on a 45-acre site and we are continuing to develop new products here to meet the future needs of our customers,” he added. Mayor Cummins congratulated Bausch + Lomb on the successful completion of the project: “As one of the main-stays of the economy of the city and its surrounding hinterland for the past 36 years, Bausch + Lomb continues to play a major role in the community. “During its long and successful history in the city, it has always been at the forefront of innovation and I’m particularly pleased to note that this new method of generating power and heat for the plant comes with a very significant environmental bonus in that it uses natural gas and reduces our carbon footprint. I’m told it is a very efficient piece of new technology and that it also greatly reduces transmission losses as the energy is created within metres of where it is being used. “I also congratulate Bausch + Lomb on the progress of its expansion project currently underway. The investment will enable the plant to cater for the demand for its successful Biotrue range of contact lenses, many of which I am proud to say were co-developed here in Waterford. When completed this investment will have created an additional 175 jobs, which is very important for the city and region,” said Mayor Cummins. The official opening function was hosted by Damain Finn and was also attended by Dennis Asharin, senior vice president of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.; Bausch + Lomb’s parent company; Amy Butler, Bausch + Lomb vice president, world-wide health, safety, environment and sustainability as well as by Waterford Council chief executive, Michael Walsh. See next issue for details of the new CHP generating plant and how Bausch + Lomb developed the new facility.