Switching over
and moving up

When Pascal Frémin started his company Ecosys in 1993, he did so with a clear goal. He wanted business success to go hand-in-hand with responsibility for sustainability and the environment. It started with composting, and now the focus is on the production of renewable energy.

June 16, 2016

Ecosys is one of the big players in France when it comes to the treatment of green waste and woody biomass. Ecosys has a solution for everything having to do with the subject. That includes the production of compost in one of over 15 composting systems and the associated marketing of substrates and soil for gardening and landscaping. The company also has a modern machine park with shredders and screens just waiting to do contract work on French green cuttings. In addition to all this, in the last few years a new business area around woody biomass has come into being. Pascal Frémin considers it to have great potential: “Right now we already do 40 percent of our business with biomass fuels, as against zero just four years ago.”

Thinking big
Frémin wasn’t interested in small potatoes. He approached the large French energy producers Électricité de France (EDF) and Engie SA to offer his services as a just-in-time supplier of organic fuels. Negotiations were successful and Frémin dug into the subject to get a detailed understanding of his customers’ process and needs. It quickly became clear that a three-fraction screen was the best solution for screening. Soon thereafter a Multistar L3 star screen was delivered by French sales partner Hantsch.

Solutions urgently needed
But there was a big problem at the front end of the process, the shredding. The high-speed shredder, which had heretofore given good service for composting, was not able to deliver the desired output. Frémin recalls the situation: “From the beginning, it was not possible to make the process economical. We made too many fines, or rather, too little product from the input material. The machines were running flat-out, yet we were barely meeting our commitments.” So it was clear to Frémin that he would have to look for an alternative.

The newcomer wins the test
He invited manufacturers to a big test and used his newly acquired knowledge to assess the machines’ shred quality, throughput and sensitivity to contraries. One machine – the newest one – quickly took the lead. “The Axtor was clearly superior to the competition. No other machine let me make so much fuel from all the different feedstocks.” A visit to Komptech headquarters in Frohnleiten, Austria sealed the deal. Shortly thereafter Pascal Frémin signed an order for six Axtor 6010s.

Ready to meet the challenges
“Our strategy is to take lower value feedstocks like green cuttings, branches and shrub cuttings, and rootstocks, and turn them into higher value products,” says Frémin of his business model. Ecosys has ambitious goals: In 2020 the company wants to make 20 million euros in revenue with fuel from renewable sources. Important assets in this push will be the Axtor, Multistar star screens, and quality-boosting separators like the Stonefex and Hurrifex. Frémin looks certain to reach his goal of contributing to a more livable environment.