'At the moment wastewater treatment process is known to be requiring electricity or other monetary resources,' says Mr. Dong-woo Kim, CEO of BKT Co., Ltd.. 'But BKT changed this stereotype by converting organic matter in the wastewater into energy and thus making money.' As a result of this shift, at The United Nations High Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) BKT's proprietary water treatment technology has been adopted as a future wastewater treatment model that will be deployed worldwide.
BKT was representing the Korean environmental industry during President Moon Jae-in's visit to the United States at the end of last month. Mr. Dong-woo Kim, CEO of BKT Co., Ltd. (Chairman Chung Il-ho), who was part of President's delegation, met with US counterparts on behalf of Korean water treatment business sector. Despite the fact that BKT is a medium-sized company, it has been acknowledged on the international stage and has already been executing several large-scale projects in the US.
BKT was founded in 1995. Currently it’s Jungnang Water Reclamation Center and Seonam Water Reclamation Center are a fifth largest water treatment facility in the world and the largest water treatment plant in Asia, respectively. The company continuously invests 10% of annual sales in R&D. In 2008, as country’s leader in the environment industry BKT established the US subsidiary and entered the advanced countries market in Americas and Europe. In 2014 with opening of Vietnam subsidiary, the company strengthened its competitiveness in Asia and globally. In 2015, BKT successfully carried out Ypacarai Lake Purification Project and revived a symbolic place just recently referred to as a Lake of Death.
In April BKT signed a preliminary agreement with the Hyperion Treatment Plant in Los Angeles, one of the symbolic US public infrastructure companies, to conduct Anammox (AMX) tests. Mr. Dong-woo Kim said, ‘When we entered the US, other competitors were entering China or Southeast Asia. But our company that has world's most advanced technology decided to go for the advanced industrialized countries first. Over the next 30 years, more than half of the global water treatment market will be concentrated in the United States. It is due to the fact that in the US, that built world's first water treatment infrastructure 100 years ago, facilities are getting old and need to be updated. The US President Donald Trump stated that it is time to invest in water treatment infrastructure. Water treatment professionals are also the mainly located in the United States. This is why 10 years ago we decided to go to the US.’
Anammox (AMX) technology, which BKT is specializing on as a water treatment technology of the future, allows to quickly convert ammonia nitrogen into nitrogen gas in the process of nitrogen removal, which is essential for wastewater treatment. It is a breakthrough technology that reduces the use of electricity by 65% and the use of chemicals by 100%.
With this technology, Hyperion expects to save at least 1 trillion won over the next 20 years, which has earned BKT a high reputation in the US industry.
Mr. Kim said, ‘Until now, the United Nations has built many sewage treatment plants in African and other third world countries, but there are few places where it operates. People don’t have enough electricity to supply their homes, not to mention wastewater treatment plants. With our technology this problem can be solved and this is why it is so popular in the United Nations. In fact, the 'Tomorrow Water Process' model of BKT was introduced at the ministerial level meeting (HLS) held during the United Nations High Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) last year and a written statement was adopted.’
'Tomorrow Water Process (TWP)' is BKT’s water treatment technology that converts wastewater organic matter into energy and allows to use nitrogen and phosphorus found in the wastewater as fertilizers.
This year BKT received an even more meaningful recognition from the United Nations. Last month, the UN Economic and Social Council chose 120 best initiatives out of the 3600. BKT TWP model was selected as a water treatment process for developing countries.
‘We hope that after this visit to the US, BKT’s TWP technology that was registered as one UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will speed up the promotion of Korea-US industrial cooperation", said BKT’s CEO.
Apart from transforming wastewater into renewable energy, in keeping with the ongoing development of IoT, Big Data and 4th Industrial Revolution, BKT is striving to implement the 'Smart Water City' concept based on wastewater treatment technology that will ultimately enhance the quality of life in future cities.
In conclusion Mr. Kim said, ‘There will be an era when the wastewater treatment plants will be designed and operated with artificial intelligence (AI) and constructed with 3D printing. The leading countries in this technology will create big amount of high value-added jobs. It is time for Korea to win the competition against global companies. For this we need more Government support and bigger efforts put into technology development.’