Waste not, want not

Deerberg-Systems is a German system developer and producer specialising in environmental protection and waste treatment systems for the maritime industry. Jochen Deerberg, coming from a family with a long lasting tradition for production and trade and a high affinity for quality and service, established the company in 1979 after a consultancy order to evaluate market possibilities for Sewage Treatment Plants.

Since its foundation, Deerberg-Systems continuously innovated maritime waste treatment technology and introduced state-of-the-art and market-led solutions for the management of waste on all types of ships. The idea was to develop complete, integrated systems for an efficient as well as economical and ecological treatment of all major waste streams on board. What started with single components and subsystems quickly developed into the first total waste management system.

The revolutionary movable grate incinerator brought to the market by Deerberg-Systems during the late 1980s was crucial to the development of the Deerberg Multi Purpose Waste Management System MPWMS, which today remains the only system able to handle waste in both sorting and non-sorting mode. In the meantime most cruise operators realized the operational flexibility, combined with quality of material, craftsmanship and the provided after sales service, which made the Deerberg System the most prominent waste treatment system in the cruise industry.

However, it was not only exceptional hardware that led to Deerberg-Systems’ current market leading position but also the continuous approach in sharing gained knowledge and expertise with the industry and public. Until now, 96 lectures and two privately organised environmental workshops for the cruise industry have contributed to this success. Between April and July 2012, for example, Deerberg is participating in numerous exhibitions, conferences and seminars from Moscow (Russian Oil and Gas Exhibiton, Marine Industry of Russia) to St Petersburg (World Maritime Technology Conference, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, Krylov Institute), and the New York City Sustainable Oceans Conference (organised by the Dräger Foundation).

In 2012, Deerberg-Systems will introduce another cutting edge technological innovation – the OMPeco Converter. Founder and CEO Jochen Deerberg discusses the product and how it revitalises the market: “The shipping industry, and especially the cruise industry, are facing a situation wherein they cannot use onboard incinerators in coastal or special areas or harbours. Therefore the shipping industry is in need of viable alternatives or complementary solutions to today’s incineration systems that can reliably handle daily waste amounts.

“The OMPeco Converter is this alternative. It is not a replacement for onboard waste management systems but an addition to them. It provides volume and weight reduction, a sterile end product and importantly has no air emissions, so it can be operated 24 hours a day. In a single cycle it converts all waste including dry waste, food waste, plastics, glass, fabrics, and even metal into a sterile fluff. This fluff, which is highly energetic, can then be compacted into briquettes and, when taken ashore, incinerated for energy.

“So the converter is a perfect answer to current waste management problems on board a large number of ships. The unit is available in many sizes and can be installed as a stand-alone or integrated system.”

Such innovation is a defining characteristic of Deerberg-Systems and what has helped to make it a market leader for more than three decades. Since the early 1990s, the company has introduced new concepts to the market at a rate of roughly every three years. With Jochen having been at the helm for this entire period, it is also his clear vision and commitment to customers that has made the company popular amongst clients from throughout the cruise, cargo, offshore, yachting, and even naval sectors. “Innovation is important but I would say that even more basic is customer service,” the CEO emphasises.

Due to the demands of its business, the cruise industry represents Deerberg-Systems’ biggest clientele. With the number of people on board a single ship – running into the thousands – as well as the routes navigated by many lines, onboard waste management has become an area of exceptional research and development. “The cruise industry is absolutely beyond anything else in terms of waste management,” Jochen agrees. “Even compared to most onshore communities of a similar size. When the sector began it looked at onshore products but today land communities could look at cruise ships and realise what they are doing to handle waste and treat black and grey water is outstanding.”

Having worked closely with this cutting edge industry since the 1980s, Deerberg-Systems is now delivering innovations into other segments of the maritime industry. The naval sector in particular has become an important customer with the company having delivered waste management systems to the British Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, for example. It has also worked with navies elsewhere around the world.

Given the strong presence it has had for more than 30 years, it should be no surprise that business for Deerberg-Systems in recent times has fared respectably. A depression in market prices has seen high volume orders become essential for Deerberg-Systems, its suppliers, and all other companies throughout the industry’s supply chain, but Deerberg-Systems has not let this diminish it. The company currently has 40 orders on its books, many of them being placed since June last year and with many of these for multiple units, the German engineering firm has been able to negotiate prices that ensure value throughout the chain from supplier to end user.

With strong performance secured in its existing markets, Deerberg-Systems is now is looking at strengthening its presence in the offshore sector. Jochen discusses in greater detail the company’s plans for offshore shipping and the future in general: “We have a strategy set out to 2016. We must keep our current situation where it is and maintain a tight grip on that, but we also have to expand our business into segments like, for example, offshore. By offshore I mean the established deep-sea segment as well as the developing arctic oil exploration, which I regard as the even more interesting growth market.

“Specifically for this new market we have founded a new company, Deerberg-Systems Offshore, dedicated to the special needs of platforms, supply ships, cable and pipe layers, accommodation units and also the related onshore infrastructure. We have now the chance to develop and influence a sustainable and industry wide waste management concept for this sensitive eco system. Beyond that we have to continue delivering first class quality and outstanding service with prices that honour demand whilst continuing to innovate. The bottom line is, that we would not been able to have done and continue doing this without our dedicated, motivated and experienced staff and partners, which is the essence of all we are doing.”

New waste convertor unit
Market leading innovator
Important cruise industry supplier