Interview with Aymeric Beaupied, Founder and Director of AquaGas
Could you tell us more about the history of AquaGas and its core activity?
AquaGas Pty Ltd was created in 2013 with the aim to design, install and support innovative technical solutions matching the requirements of the Australian and International environmental regulations, in terms of pollution control and environmental monitoring. The systems we design and supply are operated under strict regulatory purposes and used to monitor continuously pollution in the environment (indoor or ambient air, surface water, rivers…) and emissions (process and combustion gases, produced and cooling water…) from a large field of industries incl. power stations, mining sites, refineries…
During the first two years, I’ve been mainly focusing on obtaining distribution and sales agreements with overseas companies mainly from Europe for Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and PNG. In parallel, I’ve also been working on marketing tools, but the start of the company has been fairly slow due to the fact that I remained employed full-time in Sydney until July 2015. Once independent, I started with subcontracted work as a system integrator for larger companies. AquaGas strength is based on our ability to offer customised system integrated locally in our factory, or sometimes directly at the customer site. Thanks to the strong support of our supplier’s network composed of leading companies, we have access to an extensive range of technologies and brands which enables flexibility and versatility when building a turn-key system. This business model focused on system integration and not limited to commercial distribution makes us very competitive on the Australian market and is essential when it comes to fully match our customer’s requirements and preferences. Of course each system supplied over our territories is fully supported through long-term service agreements, which cover routine maintenance, instrument calibrations and data processing.
Over our first year of activity, for instance, we have introduced targeted markets such as the biogas and syngas industry with a range of instruments tailored to plant operator needs. We have also reached the local industrial community and supported sites such as Caltex Lytton who initially consulted us for a system expertise and ended up placing an order for the replacement of their CEMS gas sampling system for two stacks at their refinery. We are working with Tomago Aluminium Company in the Hunter Valley, the largest foundry in Australia, providing a fluoride online analyser to monitor storm water discharge from three separate locations (streams) with a single instrument. More recently AquaGas confirmed his position in Oceania by winning a major project in New Caledonia and will be equipping the main Power Station of the island with two complete Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems to monitor both gases and particulates emissions from their two main boilers located in the heart of on one of the largest mining site of the Southern Hemisphere.
Can you describe your personal background and your role within AquaGas?
I am originally an instrumentation engineer graduated in heat and energy engineering from the University of Technology – Paris X. I completed my degree with a specialisation in air quality at the European Institute for Environmental Careers (ISEME) in La Rochelle. I first worked as a R&D technician for Environment SA, before moving on as one of their customer service engineers where I built my technical skills travelling all over the world to install, commission and support advanced pollution monitoring equipment.
It might be hard to believe but I am really passionate about what I do. I love technology in general but especially appreciate the fact that our products and systems are essential to understand and protect the environment. In search of new frontiers and new opportunities, I moved to Australia in 2007 and had the chance to join a major actor in the field of environmental monitoring: Thomson Environmental Systems where I have been responsible for operation and maintenance of large instruments networks, product design and project management. Fairly soon, I realised there was a gap in Australia for system integration services and I decided to create my own company.
Now in its 9th month of activity, AquaGas is receiving a growing number of enquiries. I’ve actually not had much time to do some business development but our marketing efforts have paid off and word of mouth is functioning. AquaGas is a customer orientated company focused on customer satisfaction. AquaGas territory is principally but not limited to Oceania. However our intention to develop a service of proximity with our customer brought us to concentrate our activity on Queensland and New Caledonia within the sector of mining, oil and gas and power generation. I am personally in charge of the field work, travelling about 2 weeks per month, and very much focused on customer. To assist with the growing demand, my wife, Aurelie, has now joined me part-time overseeing quoting, accounting, and marketing 2 days a week.
Part of my time is also dedicated to APM (AquaGas Pollution Measurement), our French sister-company which trades under APM Environment and supplies the French market with a similar range of products which includes Australian made analysers. The company launched in 2014 has been doing very well. We are a main supplier of Bureau Veritas in France, which has a team of stack testers using our gear all over the country and its overseas departments.
How do you envisage the future of your company and how can FACCI help you achieve your objectives?
We are almost getting to the end of our first financial year in business and without expectations we (AquaGas & APM) managed to reach $350.000 AUD mark of turn over and are looking forward our second year of activity with another EUR 250,000 (AUD 370,000) contract for two complete CEMS to be installed in the coming months so we are pretty happy and very optimistic for the future.
Australia is facing huge environmental challenges such the water shortage, the management of mining resources and the consequences of climate change. Any action meant to preserve our beautiful environment requires accurate and reliable monitoring systems. The pollution phenomena are complex and require time and long-term study for a full understanding. Years ago, the colours of the fume were used as pollution indicator; today we are looking at tracking 24h/7d extremely small quantity of pollutants in complex gas or liquid matrix using state of the art spectrometer. It is crucial to understand that the measurement taken today will help us in a near or farther future to understand, assess and minimise our impact on the environment. AquaGas is dedicated to assist global industrial communities in facing these challenges by providing the right systems to optimise their processes and minimise their impact.
Since becoming a member of the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce a year ago, we have already seen big value in the networking opportunities offered by the Chamber and made key contacts in the industry. Our biggest win so far is for instance the result of an introduction made by one of FACCI’s member. Thanks to FACCI’s National Co-Innovation Business Forum this May, I’ve also been able to connect with DCNS in Australia, following up on a meeting I had in France with their Purchase Department Manager, which resulted in AquaGas been listed in their suppliers list. Being part of the Chamber is a no-brainer for AquaGas and we look forward to participating to many more events in the future, in particular your DCNS event in the spring.
For more information, please visit AquaGas' website: www.aquagas.com.au.
Interview conducted on 1 June 2016 by Claire Dupré.
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