WATER treatment expert Bluewater Bio, whose cost-effective, eco-friendly technology turns sewage black spots into sweet clean ones, has begun a £28.6 million project in Bahrain.
By MAISHA FROST
The Tubli Bay scheme is one of the latest in a stream of international utility-scale commissions saving precious resources that the company has undertaken. It was helped by the government-backed credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF) supporting the contract which has done several deals for British firms now in the Middle East. “We actively seek out territories where water treatment is a priority perhaps because of scarcity or rapidly growing populations as in Bahrain,” says executive chairman and engineer Richard Haddon.
The company is renowned for its HYBACS odourless, biomass solution. This speeds up the bacterial process breaking down waste material, removing polluting chemicals such as phosphorus and nitrogen, and doubling flows and capacity.
“HYBACS reduces capital spend, compliance, energy costs and footprint compared to other technologies,” Haddon explains. “Installation is off-line and rapid so there is no interruption during construction. No chemicals are needed and the physical footprint of land required is reduced by up to 50 percent and there are energy savings of up to 30 percent too. The water industry is extremely conservative, understandable given that product failure has serious repercussions. But for technology companies that means the barrier to entry is high and the number of breakthroughs such as ours is low.”
Founded in 2007, the business is seeing 20 percent year-on-year growth on a £40 million annual turnover. It employs 50 full time with 100 support staff and is backed by UK advanced technology investor the OMBU Group. Consultation at all levels and investment in R&D are fundamental to its operation, says Haddon. “A large element is planning. We excel in places where there are existing works but not enough space to expand. With our technology we can treat up to four times four times the capacity. We work very closely with clients, bringing all stakeholders together. The UKEF deal is a great example of teamwork, long term commitment and the respect there is for the UK plc brand. Forming strong partnerships with the end-user and Tier 1 contractors is all part of that.”
This secured Tubli’s second phase, a two-year scheme with an extended operation and maintenance deal which follows a first installation a few years ago. Contracts generally start at £300,000 and South Africa is another important region with more projects in tender discussions. Although its biggest market is overseas, last year Bluewater completed eight installations in the UK and one recently for United Utilities in the sewage plant at Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, scene of the recent dam emergency.
“We expect to be awarded many more projects globally to improve resilience and enhance water quality as companies address the challenges due to climate change,” says Haddon.
UK Export Finance – https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-export-finance ensures that no viable UK export should fail for want of finance or insurance from the private market.