WHAT WE DO
At SNB, we process sewage sludge, the residual product that results from wastewater purification in the water treatment facilities of both regional water boards and commercial parties. This processing takes place in our sludge processing facility in Moerdijk, using so-called mono-incineration – a tried and tested sewage sludge processing method that is both reliable and sustainable.
Demonstrable reuse innovators
Since SNB was established over 25 years ago, we have been demonstrably innovative in the reuse of waste materials, energy recovery, and the continuous reduction of emissions released during incineration. With the production of raw materials from waste and almost completely energy-neutral sludge processing, the SNB operational cycle is a prime example of the benefits of a circular economy.
SNB contributes to a sustainable solution for the removal of sewage sludge from our shared living environment. We make our extensive knowledge available for researching and developing sustainable solutions in the wastewater and sludge chain. To this end, SNB closely collaborates with water boards, knowledge institutes, and commercial partners.
WHO WE ARE
N.V. Slibverwerking Noord-Brabant (“SNB”) was established in 1994 by the five regional water boards responsible for the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant. As a result of several mergers and the joining of two new shareholders, SNB currently has five water board shareholders spread out over the Netherlands.
The Netherlands’ largest sludge processor
SNB processes sewage sludge from the five shareholding water boards and from various other clients. On an annual basis, SNB incinerates between 410,000 and 430,000 tonnes of dewatered sewage sludge – almost 30% of the total sludge supply in the Netherlands. This makes SNB the largest sludge processor in the country. SNB strives for maximum utilisation of its sludge incineration plant and, together with its partners, constantly looks for innovative ways to recover as much raw materials and energy from sewage sludge as possible.
SNB employs a staff of about fifty professionals. Approximately half of these are involved in process operations, working in a continuous five-shift cycle to run the sludge processing plant. About fifteen of our employees work in the Engineering Department, ensuring the continuous operation of our installations. The remaining employees form the board, management, and administrative staff. The management is responsible for managing the company.
The Supervisory Board (SB) supervises the general running of the company and assists the management with advice. The members of the SB have specific areas of expertise. In addition to an independent member of the Supervisory Board, all shareholders are represented on the Supervisory Board.
SNB treats sewage sludge in line with a clearly defined mission and vision and corresponding core values. These principles have been laid down in the 2021-2026 Business Plan.
Mission and Vision
Optimal treatment of sewage sludge enables us to achieve our ultimate objective: to create a circular waste water and sludge chain, together with our water boards and chain partners.
Our aim is for this chain to be as circular as possible. Together with our water boards and chain partners, we are committed to research and development with the aim of changing the waste water and sludge chain into a cycle, and closing that cycle. SNB’s focus is on closing the sludge chain. Keeping our goal in mind: maximum protection of people and nature.
We seek to fulfil this mission and vision by adhering to the following three core values:
- We are convinced that cooperation in the waste water and sludge chain results in better and circular sewage sludge treatment. Cooperation is therefore paramount in everything we do.
- We aim to be a reliable partner for our water boards and chain partners. Among other things, this means that we meet our commitments, and are transparent about what we do, and that our water boards and partners can count on us.
- Finding a balance between treatment continuity, treatment costs and sustainability (environment and humans) is essential to the decisions we make. Our goal, therefore, is sludge treatment at a socially acceptable cost, which meets the needs of both humans and nature by transforming the waste water and sludge chain into a cycle and closing that cycle.
Naturally better together
Our strategy is laid down in our business plan. This plan is entitled NATURALLY BETTER TOGETHER. We implement this on the basis of three correlated strategic tracks.
Excellent service provider: SNB ensures business operations and organization are stable and solid, because only then can we provide the water boards the excellent service they require. Intensive cooperation with the water boards is vital in this respect, because the volume and composition of sewage sludge supplied largely determine the performance of the sludge treatment plant. SNB sees excellent service as the cornerstone of its strategic policy. The next two tracks build on this cornerstone.SNB ensures business operations and organization are stable and solid, because only then can we provide the water boards the excellent service they require. Intensive cooperation with the water boards is vital in this respect, because the volume and composition of sewage sludge supplied largely determine the performance of the sludge treatment plant. SNB sees excellent service as the cornerstone of its strategic policy. The next two tracks build on this cornerstone.
Sustainable chain builder: SNB is committed to expanding its operations in the sludge chain. SNB is constantly exploring ways of also making the sludge chain more sustainable. The first priority in this respect is to recover raw materials from the sewage sludge and, in particular, to reuse the phosphate. SNB is also exploring the possibility of improving the robustness of the waste water and sludge chain by increasing the sludge treatment capacity.
Innovative scout: The focus of this business plan is on the period 2021-2026. However, this focus does not mean that SNB will lose sight of the period following that. On the contrary. SNB foresees various innovations in the waste water and sludge chain that could have a major impact on sludge treatment in the longer term, after 2026. In time, these could lead to the expansion broadening or relocation of SNB activities in both the waste water and sludge chain. SNB will not hesitate to make these choices. To ensure it can respond promptly, SNB continues to explore these innovations and actively participates in the most promising ones.
SNB also plays an active role in innovations in the wastewater chain. SNB achieves this through close ties with the water boards and by consciously and actively entering into partnerships with all chain parties.
The wastewater chain starts with the production of wastewater, up to and including the final processing of the sludge, including energy recovery and reuse of waste materials from sludge processing. All components in this chain affect each other and central alignment is necessary to realise an efficient total wastewater chain.
Continuity in sludge processing is very important. If we fail to treat the water on a 24/7 basis, social problems won’t be far behind.
Together with our partners in the wastewater chain, SNB aims to achieve the lowest possible lifecycle costs, thereby burdening the taxpayer with the total costs of wastewater treatment as little as possible.
Emissions, energy and raw materials
SNB wants to extract as much energy from the sewage sludge as possible and reuse the raw materials that the sludge holds. In addition, we want to prevent harmful elements from ending up in the environment. SNB strives for sustainable processing of sewage sludge, without negatively impacting our future world.
Processing sewage sludge by incineration not only solves a social problem but also contributes to the realisation of a circular economy. SNB’s sludge-processing plant burns only the sewage sludge (mono-incineration). Over the years, our facility has been updated and adapted in such a way that SNB is now able to process the sewage sludge in a completely environmentally neutral way.
Residues become raw materials
The incineration process results in a certain volume of residues. Approximately 95% of these residues can be used as raw materials, or as replacements for raw materials in asphalt, concrete tiles, soda, and artificial fertiliser. This way, the valuable nutrient phosphate is reused as a raw material and SNB makes a strong contribution to closing the phosphate chain and limiting the dependence on phosphate imports. 5% of the residues, meaning 0.03% of original sludge volume, cannot be reused and has to be transported to landfills.
Incineration prevents environmental damage
Incinerating sewage sludge prevents pollution in the sewage sludge from causing environmental damage. All potential contaminants are destroyed. This mainly concerns organic contaminants such as PACs, dioxins and PCBs, but also hormones, medicine residues and microplastics.
The SNB facility is virtually energy-neutral
In addition to the above, SNB’s sludge processing plant has been operating virtually energy-neutral for several years now. The high-pressure steam turbines and the counter-pressure turbine produce so much clean energy that SNB hardly has to buy any electricity from the grid anymore.
Emissions are balanced with our environment
Incinerating sewage sludge releases substances that are potentially harmful to the environment. SNB’s extensive flue gas cleaning process ensures that these emissions are balanced in relation to the environment. SNB fully complies with the requirements of European regulations and applicable permits. Since 2003, a part of the CO2 from the flue gases is fed directly to an adjacent lime manufacturer to be used as a raw material for high-quality lime products.
Contributing to the circular economy
All these elements contribute to the circular economy. The image below shows our efforts in relation to Lansink’s Waste Hierarchy Ladder.