Be Inspired blog News

Unique way of purifying water at Fujifilm Tilburg together with four neighbour companies

Sustainability is a key subject for Fujifilm in Tilburg. Therefore, let us tell you a story about clean water on today’s World Water Day.

At Fujifilm in Tilburg the Netherlands, we make use of a collective company water treatment. In this water purification installation Fujifilm purifies water on the site, together with three neighbour companies, Coca-Cola European Partners Nederland B.V, International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF Nederland), Agristo. This water purification installation was the first of its kind in the Netherlands: the water purification plant is located on Fujifilm’s premises, it is over 3,000 square metres in size and can purify 10 million litres of process water a day. The companies are connected to the water treatment plant by over 8 kilometres of pipes. Each type of process water runs through its own pipe, so that the chemical composition of the process water can be taken into account.

The water purification takes place by means of biological cleaning through a membrane filter, also called Membrane Bio Reactor (MBR). This technique is well known, but this was one of the largest industrial MBR installations of its kind, and it is unique in the Netherlands.

Alex van Rijn, Manager Environment, Safety, Health & Sustainability at Fujifilm, explains: “The collective company water treatment plant is an initiative, started 10 years ago, by the four neighbour companies. Looking at composition, the combination of the waste water streams of these four companies fits well together to be able to process the waste water in a way that it can be cleaned and discharged in a safe and efficient way. The reason to start the project was that the wastewater plant of the local water board came to its limits and was not able to clean and discharge the future waste water streams of the four involved companies. Fujifilm needs the water for its processes: the products we make, for example photo paper, offset plates, membranes and cell culture media, are sensitive and need very clean water. One of the reasons for starting the factory in the 1980’s in Tilburg, is the presence of very clean well water. Next step in the project for the coming years is to make use of the purified waste water in a way it can be given back to nature and /or agriculture. This fits well in the situation in Noord-Brabant where we face increasing drought in the summers.” Currently, fulfilling all legal specifications, this water is drained to the Wilhelmina canal and in the end to the sea.

Sustainability is a key subject for Fujifilm Tilburg. In the area of sustainability, for the coming years the focus will be on Energy transition, working towards zero carbon production at Fujifilm Tilburg and focus on optimized use of well water by reducing the amount of well water that we use and by making optimal use of the waste water for nature / agriculture. Next to this, the electricity of the production process operates already on wind energy for 100%. Fujifilm generates energy with an afterburner and the waste streams of Fujifilm are recycled for 100%.

The basis of the purification system is the membrane bioreactor (MBR); this is a type of water treatment plant where a membrane filter separates sludge and water under pressure. The membrane consists of a polymer sheet with pores of 0.01-0.5 micrometre. The membrane sheet is in the form of a hollow fibre. The membrane bioreactor consists of a biological water purification unit and membrane filtration unit.
Fujifilm is working together with Coca-Cola European Partners Nederland B.V, International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF Nederland), Agristo and the province, the local waterboards and the local municipalities. The Company “New water Business” (NWB) is exploiting the waste water treatment plant for the four companies.
%d bloggers like this: