See analysis below from WTT Senior Editor Cary Sherburne
Valhalla, NY, June 27, 2007 – FUJIFILM today announced that its primary US manufacturing complex, located in Greenwood, S.C., will begin using methane gas from a local community landfill to power approximately 40 percent of the facility’s operations.
Through an arrangement with Greenwood County and Methane Credit, LLC, methane gas will be extracted from the landfill and piped into the Fujifilm complex, where it will then be used in two of the facility’s four boilers. The facility will use approximately 197 billion BTUs of methane-generated energy from the landfill per year – the equivalent of the amount of energy used to heat more than 5,000 homes each year.
“This is a situation where we have come up with a solution that is both good for our business, good for the community, and very good for the environment -- and that is something that’s always been inherent in Fujifilm’s culture globally,” said Johnny Udo, director of Environmental, Health & Safety for Fujifilm in South Carolina. “This landfill gas-to-energy project will help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 10%, will significantly reduce our energy costs, and will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. “
By using the methane as energy Fujifilm is preventing methane emissions, which are more than twenty times more damaging to the ozone than carbon dioxide, from being released into the atmosphere from the landfill. The amount of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions avoided by this Fujifilm effort would be similar to that generated by 208,000 barrels of oil each year, or the equivalent of the emissions from more than 17,000 vehicles each year.
“We are extremely happy this project worked out,” said Robbie Templeton, Chairman of the Greenwood County Council. The County was facing a deadline imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce or eliminate methane emissions from the Landfill. In the absence of a partner like Fujifilm, the County’s other option was to flare, or burn-off, the gas at the landfill. “Once again FUJIFILM proves itself to be one of our best corporate citizens,” Templeton continued.
Globally, Fujifilm is implementing a range of measures with the objective of contributing to sustainable development by designing products that take the environment into account, reducing packaging materials, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to this project Fujifilm has committed itself to eco-sustainability measures, such as habitat and species preservation for the Giant Panda through its longstanding collaboration with the Smithsonian National Zoo, and the active pursuit of new energy fuels that will prevent global warming. By 2010, Fujifilm intends to reduce global energy consumption at its large manufacturing facilities by 10% from its 1999 numbers, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from its 1990 numbers.
Commentary by Cary Sherburne, WTT Senior Editor:
This announcement by Fujifilm is good news for our industry. It is heartening to see companies like Fujifilm showing leadership by reducing their carbon footprint with innovative initiatives such as this, and the company is to be congratulated. Fujifilm has partnered with Methane Credit, who is investing about $2 million to build a collection system and to pipe the methane to the Fujifilm plant, a distance of about 3.5 miles. Fujifilm is investing about $200,000 in retrofitting its two boilers to be able to easily switch between natural gas and methane. As explained by Allen Creighton, General Counsel & Director Public Relations, Fujifilm Greenwood, it is a relatively small community and Fujifilm will be consuming all of the methane generated by the County’s landfill, but it is not expected that the landfill can generate enough methane to support all of the plant’s needs. They are estimating that the methane will account for about 32% to 44% of fuel use for the boilers. Creighton added, “Our engineers are thinking outside the box as to how to improve our environmental footprint. This is just one of several projects Last year, we completed an aluminum sludge conversion project whereby we convert the sludge to new chemicals which have commercial value and avoid putting it in the landfill. Five years ago, we funded a study to identify potential issues and problems with the watershed that services the Greenwood area and to educate the community about its importance. Our facility here is the only combined wildlife and industry site in this area, and one of only a few in South Carolina and is a wildlife habitat.”
Johnny Udo, director of Environmental, Health & Safety, Fujifilm Greenwood, commented, “We will save about 50% on our energy costs, and it is the right thing to do. We hope that we are setting an example for other companies. The alternative would be to burn off the methane or just let it escape into the atmosphere. The company points out that methane emissions, are more than twenty times more damaging to the ozone than carbon dioxide.
Fujifilm employs approximately 6,000 people in the U.S., serving the medical, life sciences, consumer electronic, chemical, printing, imaging, information systems, and semiconductor industries. Fujifilm’s 500-acre Greenwood, SC facility employs 1,100 people and serves as the company’s largest manufacturer of QuickSnap, recyclable cameras; plates for the graphic arts and printing industries; as well as color photographic paper, medical imaging products, and projection screens. It has been in operation since 1988.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, landfill gas – such as methane – is a readily available, local and renewable energy source that offsets the need for non-renewable resources such as coal and oil. Of the 2,300 landfills in the United States, only 400 have landfill gas utilization projects. However, as many as 560 additional landfills could cost-effectively have their methane turned into an energy resource to produce enough electricity to power more than 870,000 homes. In the case of the Fujifilm plant, it is expected that methane gas from the landfill will deliver between 197 and 250 billion BTUs of energy annually by the time the operation is fully up and running in 2009. Methane consumption is expected to begin in the spring of 2008. Globally, the company has issued internal targets around waste reduction and energy efficiency that include exploitation of alternative energy sources of all kinds.