The LIFE BITMAPS project will establish a pilot plant that will demonstrate a new and never-before attempted process for the treatment of effluents from electronics and semiconductor manufacturing.

The project will contribute to the implementation of the WFD by introducing more efficient treatment technologies that will help reduce TMAH pollution at source. By recycling wastewater, it will also demonstrate the application in practice of the circular economy priority of water reuse and savings in industrial processes. Moreover, in proposing a more efficient, effective and innovative solution for industrial wastewater treatment, the project will also contribute to one of the priority areas of the European Innovation Partnership on Water.
The project's specific objectives are to:

  1. Design, construction and validation of a semi-industrial pilot plant enabling the treatment of spent photoresist/tetramethylammonium hydroxide ( PR/TMAH), and other mixed solutions generated by the E&S (Electronic & Semiconductor) manufacturing processes.
  2. Demonstrate, at industrial scale, the biodegradation of TMAH to non-toxic biomass plus NH3 by using some specific savage microorganisms selected during the previous R&D phase.
  3. Prove the cost sustainability of the process, in a LCC perspective, also taking into account the actual annual operating costs for the PR/TMAH concentrated disposal.
  4. Set up a more efficient water management approach proving that it is possible to reduce the net water consumption by saving water of the currently used ionic exchange process, and evaluate the total reuse of treated wastewater in the company's industrial plant.
  5. Promote the project through dedicated dissemination and networking means and activities.
  6. Pave the way for replication and transfer of the results to E&S Sector.

Expected results

The expected tangible and quantifiable results of this project are:


Demonstrate biodegradation of PR/TMAH with an overall efficiency target of 99%

TMAH reduction

Demonstrate reduction of the TMAH level in wastewater by a factor of almost 20 (from 7 mg/L to 0.4 mg/L)

Waste reduction

Treat at least 500 cubic metres/year of wastewater containing PR/TMAH, 20 m3/year of ammonium fluoride and 5 tonnes/year of acid mixture

Less Water

Demonstrate a reduction in the site water consumption of 1500 m3/day

Cost savings

Realise operational savings from a 100% reduction in TMAH waste disposal costs, and a halving of the cost of reagents

Low emissions

Propose new quality standards and guidelines for wastewater discharged from electronics and semiconductor manufacturing plants, helping policy-makers to fill the regulatory gaps on TMAH emissions