As Spring reluctantly arrives, Clearfleau has embarked on an exciting new stage in our development, which will reinforce our presence in the British industrial water treatment and bio-energy market and enable the business to expand into supplying export markets.
In March, we were acquired by the leading German water technology company EnviroChemie. This will allow us to generate sales in Europe while providing a wider range of solutions for our British clients, alongside our established expertise in delivering low-carbon effluent solutions. Working with EnviroChemie will enable us to compete more effectively in water treatment markets in the UK and Europe.
Despite indecision on industrial policy in Westminster, confusion in Brussels and outright climate change denial in Washington, the global market for lower carbon, water conserving and bio-energy technologies is set to expand as more businesses embrace the circular economy. While senior executives in leading food companies already back the development of low-carbon solutions for food and beverage processing, this approach can also be extended to smaller businesses that proliferate in the food sector.
Across Europe, more food and drink processors could be extracting bio-energy from bio-degradable process residues, while exploring other opportunities to improve their resource efficiency.
For example, in the milk processing sector, on-site Anaerobic Digestion offers flexible bio-energy supply. There are three outputs: biogas (generated at the site for use in the production process), cleansed water (discharged to river after aerobic polishing) and nutrient-rich residual biosolids (used to grow the grass to feed the cows producing milk to supply the creamery).
The benefits for milk processing sites using the latent energy content in their bio-residues are highlighted in my recent article for the International Dairy Magazine. Investment in bio-energy should be at the core of the EU dairy sector’s efforts to curb its environmental impact.
Working with our new partner, we hope that our technology can be installed on dairy plants across Europe. We are confident in our approach, but would welcome clarity from the Government about future support both for engineering exports pre-Brexit and the ongoing development of the low carbon economy.
The transition to better resource use involves more than setting ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The policy framework must promote more efficient industrial use of scarce resources, while cutting energy and water use and making better use of process residues. Low carbon technologies are being developed with British design and engineering skills, but policymakers can do much more to support low-carbon and resource-efficient manufacturing as well as developing export activity.
Last month, I attended the Anuga food technology exhibition in Germany, a leading trade fair for the food and drink industry. It could have been a great showcase for British technology, with visitors from across the globe. However, the lack of British branding on the stands of UK companies was in stark contrast to companies from France and Denmark.
Our exciting partnership with EnviroChemie will allow Clearfleau to expand our sales in Europe’s dairy sector. But the Government can also do more to champion exports from British engineering companies.