Market Research Drives Success For Brunner Mond

Market research findings from business-to-business market research specialists B2B International have led to a doubling of business growth for Brunner Mond.

With a well established sodium bicarbonate business, Brunner Mond recognised that there were significant opportunities for the chemical’s use in the Flue Gas Treatment sector. Two years ago they commissioned B2B International to gain a better understanding of the flue gas treatment market in the UK and its potential for growth in order to validate the company’s strategy for growth and investment.

Research shows considerable evidence that the market for sodium bicarbonate in flue gas treatment is set to grow in the UK. Indeed it has shown rapid growth since the new legislative pressures have come into force in 1996 and yet it is still behind continental Europe. In Europe, 25% of sodium bicarbonate is sold in to flue gas treatment whereas in the UK no incinerators currently use sodium bicarbonate. The economics of using sodium bicarbonate instead of lime in municipal and clinical waste incinerators is changing and is likely to continue to move in favour of sodium bicarbonate.

B2B carried out interviews in the UK with incinerator operators, consultants and lime manufacturers (the competing technology) to understand the needs and interest levels in changing over to sodium bicarbonate for flue gas treatment.

Two years on from this research and Brunner Mond have acted on the findings. They have branded their sodium bicarbonate offering as Briskarb™ and now manufacture different grades of sodium bicarbonate that can be used for different flue gas treatment applications. They have recently commissioned Cranfield University to create a ‘dosing rig’ to allow potential customers to trial the benefits of sodium bicarbonate without disrupting their current treatment plants. Following on from the research and with the resulting actions, Brunner Mond has been so successful that they have doubled the size of their sodium bicarbonate business (in both volume and turnover) in the last two years.

Briskarb™ is tailor-made by Brunner Mond for use in the flue gas treatment. Acid flue gases are produced during waste incineration and many other industrial processes involving combustion and it is important to manage these gases effectively in order to comply with environmental legislation. Briskarb™ is a special grade of sodium bicarbonate which neutralises gases emissions much more efficiently than other commonly used dry injection reagents such as lime and sodium carbonate.

B2B director, Nick Hague, was in charge of the project. “Our research provided strong evidence for Brunner Mond to enter the combustion market at a time when managing gases to comply with environmental legislation is high on the agenda. They are using Briskarb™ in industries such as thermal treatment of waste, chemical manufacture, cement kilns, metal processing, power generation with alternative fuels and glass manufacture”.

In addition to ease of handling due to being non-hazardous and non-irritant, the business benefits of Briskarb™ include enhanced environmental performance, as it removes acid gases very effectively resulting in cleaner flue gases from the combustion processes; more cost effective, with a lower consumption and residue formation; and no need for major investment ahead of use, as Briskarb™ can be used in all conventionally designed lime systems.

Research continues apace. In February 2006, Tata Chemicals Ltd acquired Brunner Mond to become the world’s third largest sodium bicarbonate producer. In developing their global growth strategy for sodium bicarbonate, they have commissioned B2B International to gain a better understanding of the Chinese sodium bicarbonate industry and the potential market. Over the last 10 years in China, exports of sodium bicarbonate have risen by 16% pa and Chinese exports now account for around 10% of the global sodium bicarbonate market. B2B has vast experience of the Chinese market and is also ideally located, with the opening of a B2B office in Beijing in December 2006.

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