NZ-founded Company Poised for Huge Growth as Global Renewable Energy Demand Surges

Tuesday 25 October 2011, 2:28PM
By Flotech

International renewable energy company Flotech is poised to treble its revenues in the next few years as it consolidates its global leadership in biogas upgrading, with a range of proprietary innovations sought by communities and governments worldwide, all wanting cleaner energy.

Driven by surging market demand for renewable energy, across Europe and North America, followed by China and Japan, the company expects profits to accelerate as revenues jump to around $300 million by 2015-16, with Greenlane™ Biogas, its wholly owned subsidiary, generating around 80 per cent of turnover.

Greenlane™ already command 32 per cent of the biogas upgrading sector worldwide, offering five modular units of different capacities that produce high quality biomethane fuel for vehicle fleets, communities, power grids and pipeline gas.

“We have come a long way since we started in Auckland 25 years ago as a specialist in compression and heat exchange systems,” says Group Managing Director Steve Broadbent. “We have built an international reputation not only for disruptive technologies that present new IP to the energy sector, but also for solutions that work practically and commercially.

“We are one of the very few companies to have emerged with proven technologies for biomethane and our plan is to extend dominance of that sector. Our reputation is now such that no serious developer would contemplate a biomethane project without at least including Greenlane™ for consideration on the supplier list.”

2010-11 Watershed Year

The financial year to 31 March 2011 was a momentous period of change reflecting the planned heavy investment in building platforms for growth for Flotech Group, which is privately owned and generally keeps a low profile. While costs of development and international expansion were higher than expected, normalised financial results for 2011 were satisfactory.

“Results also reflect the process of change as we shifted from a projects-driven, compressor dominated business to marketing the Greenlane™ standardised solution,” Mr Broadbent said. “This change focussed on growing the potential of Greenlane™, which now dominates sales. It was more difficult, more costly and took longer than expected. However, thanks mainly to the efforts of loyal staff - and buoyant demand from the rapidly growing renewable energy sector - we now have evidence that the expansion strategy devised over the past four years is coming to fruition.”

The company is active worldwide with operations in North America, New Zealand, Singapore and Europe. Its operations are vertically integrated, and it has a global reputation for innovation, reliability, quality assurance and service, with patents in key markets for its platform technologies.

To date, the company has sold more than 50 Greenlane™ Biogas upgrading systems, including delivering the largest biogas plant in the world at Güstrow in Germany, hundreds of gas compressors and thousands of KALLT heat exchangers worldwide. It has won numerous national and international innovation and technology awards. These include the Deloitte Fast Fifty 2007 and 2008, Exporter of the Year 2008, Export Deal of the Year 2010 and was a finalist in 2010 for the New Zealand high-tech exporter award.

“Our growth strategy is focused on technology and innovation leadership through targeted Research and Development to make both incremental and disruptive step changes to improve efficiency, reliability and simplicity,” Mr Broadbent said.

The standardised Greenlane™ units, each named after a New Zealand native tree, exemplify the company’s philosophy: a pioneering spirit, environmental credentials and competency to implement world leading technologies to upgrade raw gas from biomass to biomethane. Greenlane™ received a significant New Zealand government research grant through the Ministry of Science and Innovation's Technology for Business Growth Fund for this work.

“We maintain competitive advantage through continuous innovation – reducing plant footprint, energy consumption and effluent discharge while increasing product gas quality and yield,” Mr Broadbent said. “We are poised for a period of huge growth and profitability, most markedly in the biogas upgrading sector, where we seek to solidify our global market share and leadership. We look forward to our next 25 years of growth.”

Flotech Group 2010-2011 Performance Highlights

  • Invested heavily in implementing a lean and nimble product driven business model to produce Greenlane™ Biogas standardised solutions for its world leading renewable energy plants
  • Greenlane™ Biogas overtook the compression business as the key revenue earner with strong European, North American and Asian sales of its suite of five patented biogas upgrading units
  • Greenlane™ made inroads in the newly opened market in North America, won its first sale in China and commissioned the first biogas upgrading plant in Denmark for DONG Energy
  • Service and sales support experts were located close to customers in France and Germany and the European HQ in Sweden was expanded while the North American operation continued to grow from its Vancouver base
  • Consolidated its Auckland premises into a campus-style development and innovation headquarters – a base for the company’s research, product development, prototyping, support services and software development
  • Nine giant high tech compressors, designed and built by Flotech to operate under extreme pressure, travelled across the world to the heart of the Amazon for use at three oil-burning power plants, to convert these to run on clean natural gas. The project won Flotech Deal of the Year in the Air New Zealand Export Awards
  • The expansion plan devised over the past 4 years has matured to position Greenlane™ in a strong position to grow rapidly as demand for renewable energy increases

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