The Founding Years
In 1979, the company then-named Bee Joo Transport Co, was formed with a primary focus on the used copper slag recycling business. The company expanded 3 years later to welcome the addition of 3 new partners, taking on a new name of Bee Joo Trading Transport (“BJTT”) in response to a heightened demand for recycled copper slag. Owing further to increased emphasis on recycling activities, Bee Joo Industries (“BJI”) was later formed with a primary interest in recycling business while BJTT remains the core provider of transport services relating to cooper slag and industrial waste.
New Factory – Capabilities Building
In 1991, the Company moved into its current factory at Sungei Kadut. Further investments were then made to enable automation and enhance the productivity of the recycling activities. The investments bore fruits when the Company clinched its first term contract on disposal of used copper slag with Sembawang Shipyard and Singapore Technologies Shipbuilding & Engineering Limited (known today as Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd) respectively in subsequent years. The success of the copper slag processing and disposal business was further demonstrated when the BJI secured another major contract with Keppel Group in 2002. The commissioning of the S$0.6 million wood crushing machine has also opened up the market of wood and horticultural waste handling and biomass fuel production for the company in 2000.
Enhancing Quality through Technology and R&D
In response to the growing relevance of technology and its inter-dependence with the environmental industry, the Group also formed ecoWise Solutions Pte Ltd to carry out the business of developing as well as commercializing sustainable, ecological-friendly technologies and solutions. The Group also embarked on a research in recycling horticultural waste into compost, organic fertilizer and briquette. Our compost and fertilizer products, produced from our patented ecoACTTM composting technology, subsequently received the Singapore Green Label accreditation as “100% Natural Organic Fertilizer” in 2006, demonstrating our continued pursue of technology excellence. BJTT was also renamed Bee Joo Environmental Pte Ltd to reflect the Group’s emphasis on providing resource management and environmental solutions.
Public Listing on Singapore Stocks Exchange
Under Mr Lee and the Management’s guidance, the Group achieved new milestone when ecoWise Holdings Limited (incorporated as the investment holding company for Group) becomes listed on Singapore Stock Exchange SESDAQ in April 2003.
Pushing New Frontiers – Renewable Energy and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
In 2004, under the stewardship of the then Board of Directors and Management Team, ecoWise expanded its business through its foray into the Renewable Energy segment, particularly in Biomass derived clean energy. ecoWise ordered the Group’s first biomass fired 1MW co-generation power plant in its Sungei Kadut factory which was subsequently commissioned in 2005. By November 2007, explorations on carbon credits development and trading proved successful when ecoWise (under its wholly-owned subsidiary, BJI) became the first Singapore registered company to sign Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreement to sell carbon credits.
In the same year, BJI has also secured a Letter of Approval from Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) in the development of thermal energy recovery project for greenhouse gases reduction under the Kyoto Protocol. By December 2008, the project involving the recovery of thermal energy in the drying of spent grains and iso-tank heating has earned ecoWise the honour of being Singapore’s first United Nation CDM project.
Expansion of Copper Slag Recovery Business – Geocycle Singapore
In response to a bid for the Nation’s increasing demand for construction materials and a looming ‘sand crisis’, extensive research has been undertaken by the Group and construction materials manufacturer, Lafarge Holcim to explore the recycling and re-purposing of the washed copper slag as an alternative ingredient to construction sand for ready-mix concrete. (structural and non-structural applications) The research paid off when relevant Singapore authorities (including the Building and Construction Authority as well as the National Environment Agency) have no objection to the use processed copper slag for such intended purpose.
The raving success of the sustainable construction material propelled the formation of the Joint Venture company (made up of ecoWise and Lafarge Holcim), Geocycle Singapore Pte Ltd in January 2008. By the October of the same year, Geocycle Singapore officially opens a new plant in Sungei Kadut, Singapore. With a processing capacity of 360,000 tonnes per year, the plant is the largest copper slag processing plant in Singapore.
Stepping Beyond Singapore’s Shores
ecoWise’s first entry into the China market took place in January 2009, when the Group entered into a joint venture agreement with Wuhan Jiabao Suger Co., Ltd, forming Wuhan ecoWise Energy Co., Ltd with a primary interest of investments in renewable energy projects in Wuhan, China. To demonstrate ecoWise’s commitment to co-develop high-tech and efficient biomass power-plant in China, Wuhan ecoWise Energy Co., Ltd entered into an equipment procurement and supply contract for clean combustion technology in October 2009 with Belgium Vyncke Energietechniek NV in the presence of H.E Xi Jinping, then Vice President of People’s Republic of China and Mr Herman Van Rompuy, then Prime Minister of Belgium.
In expanding its renewable energy sector in China, ecoWise has also subsequently invested in 2 biomass power-plants in Wuhan and Shandong respectively
Concurrently, collaborative agreements (non-binding) were also reached with various Chongqing Government Commissions such as the Chongqing State Development and Reform Commission as well as the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission. Such agreements have laid the important foundation for ecoWise’s subsequent investment and development in the strategically located vicinity of Chongqing city, China.
First Public Private Partnership Project
As a testimony for our strong expertise in project development and O&M management for biomass power-plant, ecoWise clinched a DBO contract by Garden’s by the Bay in November 2009 to construct and operate the Energy Resource Centre for 15 years. This iconic biomass tri-generation (electricity, heating and cooling) power-plant, built with the intention of providing renewable energy to power and cool the 2 giant dome conservatories of the Gardens runs entirely on biomass fuel. The efficient management of biomass resources, effective recycling of power-plant by-products (eg, ashes) and the concept of sustainability cycles in energy and resources (zero-waste concept) has collectively earned the power-plant the prestigious Asean Energy Awards in 1st Runner-Up position in October 2015. The biomass power-plant has also since then received many visitors from both Government bodies and private organizations, many of which have expressed their interests to learn and co-develop such facilities with ecoWise.
Venturing into the Rubber and Tyre Business, Malaysia (Sunrich)
The management and disposal of waste tyres have always been a prominent and difficult issue faced by many Governments in the world. Recognising the huge opportunities in recycling waste tyres, ecoWise has made a strategic investment to acquire (acquisition completed in March 2012) the leading Malaysian rubber compound manufacturing and waste-tyre re-treading company Sunrich Integrated Sdn. Bhd. Through its Group of companies, Sunrich’s vertically integrated business model, spanning from upstream rubber compound manufacturing to downstream tyre re-treading has helped to improve operational efficiency. Marketing under renowned brand names of Suntex, Winner, Autoways and Trakar, Sunrich’s large network of sales and support team covers many major tyre dealers and clients across the Malaysia Peninsular. Sunrich’s wide suite of services which even include total tyre management and distribution of new tyres has made it one of the biggest player in the Malaysian rubber compound/tyre industry.
Aligned with the ecoWise Group’s direction towards sustainability technology research, Sunrich has collaborated with the Malaysian Rubber Board in May 2014 to carry out a joint R&D for the application of epoxidised natural rubber in re-treaded tyres, including road trials under Malaysia conditions. The continue pursuit for technology excellence was further demonstrated in April 2015 when Sunrich successfully commissioned a German high-tech advanced mixing plant. The new addition will help to boost its production capacity in the growing market segment.
Making Our Mark in Chongqing, China – Tyre Re-tread (CECRT)
Riding on the success of the rubber tyre businesses in Malaysia, ecoWise expanded its re-tread tyres manufacturing technology and know-how, through a franchising model to Chongqing, China. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, ecoWise RubberTech Pte Ltd, ecoWise entered into a joint venture agreement with Chongqing Municipal Transport Development and Investment (Group) Co. Ltd. to form the Chongqing eco-CTIG Rubber Technology Co., Ltd. (CECRT) in July 2013. With the help and transfer of technology know-how from Sunrich, CECRT has successfully commissioned a high-tech automated re-tread tyre production line capable of producing 100,000 tyres per year. In addition to the manufacturing and supply of re-tread tyres, CECRT has also established total tyre management (TTM) agreements with the City’s public bus company as well as other local/regional logistic fleets. The latest development for CECRT is in the trial of its re-tread tyres in Light Rail Transit applications.
Positioning for the Future
With the global population projected to grow to 9.6 billion in year 2050, the world will face an unprecedented level of stress on the environment. ecoWise, in its bid to address the ever increasing environmental challenges, will enhance its capabilities through continued emphasis on R&D, regular review and renewal of environmental solution methodologies and adopting integrated sustainable environmental solutions aimed at creating a self-sustaining closed-loop cycle for energy generation, resource and waste management.