Eko Export specializes in the production of alumino-silicate microspheres that are a by-product of the process of burning coal dust in power stations. The lightest components of the dust produced in the burning process are microspheres, which are five times lighter than sand.
“Microspheres left in waste are blown about by the wind, causing a serious environmental problem,” says company Cofounder and Director of Business Development Zbigniew Bokun. “The line for microsphere collection in Kazakhstan will bring very positive ecological effects by almost completely eliminating the environmental impact of hazardous waste generated in a power plant. The line itself is eco-neutral as it uses neither hazardous raw materials nor components.”
Microspheres have a number of highly beneficial properties, including high temperature resistance, a neutral impact on the environment, good thermal and acoustic insulation, and low specific weight. These properties mean that microspheres have wide-ranging applications in a variety of industries including the automotive sector, energy and technology, the building industry, the plastics and ceramics industries as well as other manufacturing industries.
What is seen as one man’s waste turns out to be another man’s gold. “In recent years, our annual turnover has exceeded ten million EUR, and the business continues to grow,” says Mr. Bokun, who founded the company together with his son-in- law Jacek Dziedzic.
In addition to 30 employees at its production plant in Bielsko-Biała, Poland, the collection and drying facility in Astana, Kazakhstan, has another 40 employees. There, Eko Export owns unique technology for collecting microspheres from a water-ash mix flowing directly from pipes disposing of a slag generated after coal combustion in a power plant.
“We have the largest and most up-to-date production facility in the world here in Bielsko-Biała,” says Mr. Bokun. “In addition, we are one of the only companies in the industry to have our own laboratory for product testing and quality control.”
All of the company’s profits in the last few years have been invested in a new plant in Astana, modernizing the production facilities and developing an in-house quality management system called EKOSFERA. It uses barcodes to ensure full traceability.
For quality control purposes, a sample is taken from every ton of microspheres produced and tested to ensure consistent quality. A key development in its history was the acquisition of the patent rights to the production processes in Kazakhstan in 2011.
“Our production lines can be quickly and cheaply erected in other countries and are capable of producing 7 t of microspheres an hour,” says Mr. Bokun. “They therefore have potential in countries like Saudi Arabia or America, where we are currently looking for partners for projects.”