New CEO outlines bold vision for BIO-U Group
BIO-UV Group’s new chief executive Laurent-Emmanuel Migeon reveals ambitious plans for the future of the French ballast water management system provider
In March 2023, it was announced that Benoît Gillmann, founder of the BIO-UV Group, was relinquishing his role as chairman and chief executive in favour of Laurent-Emmanuel Migeon.
Mr Migeon is very familiar with BIO-UV Group, having co-managed the company with Mr Gillmann for the past five years, contributing significantly to the company’s commercial success. He was heavily involved in developing the group through the acquisition of ozone-based technology group Triogen Holdings from Suez, and the purchase of Toulouse-based salt electrolysis technology firm Corelec.
Today, the company has more than 700 BIO-SEA ballast water treatment systems in the maritime sector, and has carved itself several niches.
One is its special position geographically and as a market leader in the western Mediterranean, counter-balancing the larger BWMS providers in Scandinavia.
Another niche is the company’s close links with the major French shipping companies – especially liner and cruise ship operators. Then there is the defence sector, for which the French company has designed BWTS for the US military.
A more recent development is that BIO-UV Group was asked to develop water purification systems for the well-boat sector. This is a relatively new development in fish farming where young fish are transported from the growing tanks to structures offshore. BIO-UV Group’s UV and filtration technology ensures the fish remain healthy in clean water during transport.
The marine sector, through its BIO-SEA BWTS, has been a fertile learning ground for BIO-UV Group, which is being passed onto another, literally fertile ground, in the company’s agriculture segment.
The products developed for the marine sector are vertically integrated – power supply, UV lamps, filters, control systems and cabinets are developed and assembled inhouse to create a plug-in-and-play system.
So far, BIO-UV Group’s approach to other sectors such as aquaculture and industrial water disinfection systems has been to supply separate components. By adopting the integrated approach taken with its marine division, there is value added in the product, and in sales and maintenance. This approach also satisfies the needs of the large clients BIO-UV Group serves in these sectors – the one-stop-shop.
Another exciting development that Mr Migeon is keen to encourage is BIO-UV Group’s role as an incubator for new projects. The growth of the company in France has been noted by local entrepreneurs and the company is working with several start-ups.
“We have 10 years’ experience developing and selling a new product,” he said. “We can develop innovations, using our technical network and launching through our sales network.”
Mr Migeon also pointed out the opportunities that are opening up in shipping from the increasing legislation of all aspects of the industry’s impact on the environment.
One of these is biofouling.
New Zealand, Australia and California have introduced and acted on the fouling condition of vessel hulls. These need to be clean, but is scraping and cleaning a hull in another port or at sea environmentally friendly if the debris is allowed to fall to the harbour floor or seabed? The answer is to treat the wastewater and debris in the same fashion as ballast water before discharge into a different ecosystem.
This is an aspect being looked at by IMO, with the aid of the Ballast Water Equipment Association (BEMA) and an area BIO-UV Group is developing. BIO-UV is a member of BEMA and has a representative on the board with BIO-UV Group’s Maxime Dedeurwaerder, who heads up the maritime division.
Looking further ahead, Mr Migeon noted biofouling is also an issue on the growing fleet of floating offshore windfarms.
With 500 days to go to the 8 September 2024 D-2 standard compliance date, how does Mr Migeon see the BWMS market developing? “We see a little decrease in terms of (new) tenders or opportunities in the ballast water business, and we foresee a slowdown this year and next year,” he said. Meanwhile, the retrofit installation market is expected to continue to grow.
With such a large installed base of BIO-SEA ballast water treatment systems, the arrival and passing of any impetus to meet the compliance deadline will be balanced by the long-term servicing and spare parts business, noted Mr Migeon.