Fujifilm on June 27 announced that its primary U.S. 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 and safety for Fujifilm in South Carolina. "This landfill gas-to-energy project will help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, 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 20 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 said.

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. By 2010, Fujifilm intends to reduce global energy consumption at its large manufacturing facilities by 10 percent from its 1999 numbers, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent from its 1990 numbers.

Fujifilm Manufacturing USA Inc. began manufacturing operations in South Carolina in 1988. The Greenwood manufacturing complex is currently comprised of five high technology manufacturing plants, the Greenwood Research Laboratories, and the largest Fujifilm distribution center in the world. The 1,100 associates employed at the 500-acre complex currently manufacture digital and conventional pre-sensitized plates, QuickSnap one-time-use recyclable cameras, color photographic paper, medical imaging products and projection screens.