In the News … New product development for industrial markets

Nuclear power has been an important provider of UK energy in the last few decades. However, this form of energy generation is not without problems. Whilst nuclear fuel might not produce the same greenhouse gases as fossil fuels, there are worries about contamination and disposal of waste materials.

The problem of industrial waste is a widespread problem across many industries, yet treatment of this waste presents business opportunities for other companies. Bluewater Bio International, based in the Cayman Islands, has developed a biological wastewater treatment. It claims it removes 99 per cent of organic matter, much offensive odour and more e-coli bacteria than other treatments, with a”reduced industrial footprint” (Growth Company Investor website).

The process cleanses waste water using bacteria found naturally in soil, removing 99% of biological contamination. The process is claimed to be more effective than nitrogen and phosphate systems. It is currently being used and tested at 20 plants in South Korea, Japan and China at industrial and sewage plants and agricultural sites. The company is also targeting food processing companies, breweries, hospitals and textile manufacturers. It claims the technology can lead to savings of operational costs and reduced investment costs in water treatment. To ensure that it maximises its profits, the company has applied for legal protection of their development through the use of a patent. Bluewater claims it has a three year technical lead over some rivals (The Sunday Times – 25 November 2007).

Consider The Times 100 case study which explains the role of the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority) in the UK. This organisation was set up by the government and started to operate in April 2005. Its purpose is to create a UK-wide plan to clean up existing public sector nuclear sites. Consider how it deals with the issues and concerns of a wide range of stakeholders, aims to meet its targets and fulfil its obligations to the UK government.


The Times 100 Case Studies – Nuclear Decommissioning – The Business of Nuclear Decommissioning

Entrepreneur cleans up in Biotech float -The Sunday Times – 25 November 2007 (print edition)

The Times Online – Entrepreneur cleans up in Biotech float – 25 November 2007

Growth Company – Waste water group targets AIM – 9th November 2007

Potentional Questions:

  • Development of new technologies requires well focused objectives which usually have a number of SMART characteristics. What does SMART stand for?
  • With reference to the article, assess the importance of product testing in the new product development process.
  • What is a patent?
  • For economists: How can a patent be considered a legal barrier to entry? What is the impact of such a barrier to entry on the market structure in the short term?