NEWS RELEASE                                                                                         February 2019

Predicting Profitability of Air Pollution Control Companies

Why is it that some of the largest U.S. and European  based air pollution control companies have failed while some of the smaller ones have thrived?  We asked one smaller APC company why it is successful and were told that it is the ability to combine a range of services and technologies to meet the customer needs.  Here are their secrets to success

  • Broad Industry Coverage: The company recognizes that the customer needs differ by industry from year to year.  So when coal fired boiler pollution control needs are down the gasifier, kiln, dryer or furnace market may be up. The company has been quite successful in the frac sand manufacturing market and has a torrified biomass production plant.
  • Continuing Innovation: The company has patented a new dry recirculating acid gas scrubber and has efficient systems for mercury reduction using brominated activated carbon injection.  It has recognized the potential for direct sorbent injection based on pre testing of  injection locations and is supplying cost effective solutions.  The company is known for its innovations in the design of fabric filters.  A new patented dryer has demonstrated improvements over available designs.
  • Quick and Reliable System Design:  A large engineering staff provides the range of mechanical, electrical, and structural design needs.  It also supplies balanced duct design, hoods and chutes as needed.
  • Design and Supply of Auxiliary Systems: The company is providing both vacuum and pressure pneumatic conveying at the production plants as well as in bulk storage facilities.  It has an in-house automated controls and power design group.
  • Fast and Cost Effective Construction: The company has its own construction crews and a proven record.
  • Lifecycle Support: The company has a large repair parts inventory and extensive service capabilities. It offers the full arrange of services:  advise, design, supply, construct, guide, maintain. This can include training and even operational support.

In the last decade this company has grown sales by more than 10% percent per year.  Some of the public companies in the same business in Europe and the U.S. have shown large sales decreases. Part of this failure is just the reliance on the coal fired boiler market. Part of it may also be failure to fully integrate the life cycle support activities. The potential for remote O&M was not realized.  There was no aggressive aftermarket support staff. By contrast this high performing company has a staff of capable sales engineers to make sure customers know about and take advantage of the best repair part options.

This leads to questions about another path.  Some air pollution related companies have opted only to sell components and eliminate the risks associated with system sales. However with remote monitoring and the potential for third parties to operate air pollution control systems the component companies may find their margins and revenues shrinking as the third party operators look for ways to reduce cost.

The various paths to profitability in the air pollution control industry are analyzed in 5AB Air Pollution Management