Waste Paper to Antibiotics: A Design and Feasibility Study of a Penicillin Production Facility in Trinidad and Tobago

  • Jemila James NunesEmail author
  • Rean Maharaj
  • Vijaya Maharaj
  • Terri Ann Sedoo
  • Luc-Jesus Fernandes
  • Chelsee Holder
Original Paper



Approximately 90,000 tonnes of waste paper is generated yearly in Trinidad and Tobago which has become a waste disposal challenge. A possible solution is to utilize waste paper as a feedstock to locally manufacture penicillin-based drugs which Trinidad and Tobago, like most Caribbean and Latin American territories, import for treatment of bacterial infections. Due to low foreign exchange reserves, adequate importation of these drugs has suffered.


A market survey was conducted to determine the most consumed penicillin derivative. The method of production of the penicillin derivative and the quantity of glucose required was then used to generate a plant design for waste paper conversion to glucose and its subsequent utilisation for antibiotic production. A financial analysis was then completed to determine the economic feasibility of such a plant.


The plant was designed for Amoxicillin with an estimated local consumption at 30,000 kg/year. A financial analysis for the process design at this capacity was unfavourable. A breakeven analysis showed that production must exceed 123,000 kg to generate an IRR of 15% with a breakeven selling price of US $85/kg. A production capacity of 150,000 kg resulted in an annual revenue of US $32 million with NPV of US $40 million, IRR of 26%, and Payback period of 3 years.


An Amoxicillin plant with production capacity of 150,000 kg operating in Trinidad and Tobago is an economically beneficial and feasible venture and also presents a sustainable disposal strategy for waste paper.


Waste paper Recycling Penicillin derivatives Plant design Economic evaluation 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Trinidad and TobagoBrechin CastleTrinidad and Tobago

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