What is the next opportunity for Devco?
Richard Aston, Managing Director
Devco is an innovative sulphur business that takes a waste product from oil refineries and converts it into a high value product for
the agricultural and industrial markets
Sulphur, elemental sulphur, is a waste product for an oil refinery, it has to be removed before they can sell petrol at the bowser to meet
environmental standards. We started our business in 2001 looking to supply equipment to the BP Oil Refinery in Brisbane to process this
sulphur. Through various discussions we offered to set up a business to operate this equipment and we ended up operating and growing a
successful entrepreneurial, sulphur business, doing what BP didn’t want to do (processing a waste sulphur stream), leaving them to focus on
what they do, making fuels.
Back in 2001, we went out into the market and found customers for niche sulphur products, along the way developing our own unique products
and packaging types, converting an undesirable waste product into something of value.
We often say in our business that we punch well above our weight. We are a small business of just 6 people looking after the needs of big
business. The move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is well underway and so Oil Refining in Australia has a fixed life,
perhaps not tomorrow but certainly over the next 10-20 years, so this presents us with an interesting challenge. We have a fairly fixed
supply of sulphur within Australia, so the opportunities to grow organically are limited. We could just sit back and maintain our existing
business until our domestic supply of waste stream sulphur ceases. We are not going to do that, we are looking to see “what is the next
opportunity for Devco”, what is the next problem that we can solve. What I am looking for are ideas or contacts with organisations who
could use our skills and experience to solve their waste, or other processing challenges that they may not want to do themselves.
We tend to operate in the Industrial and Agricultural markets, so this is where we believe we are best focussed in our efforts. If you have
any ideas or thoughts on an industry or specific business that could use our services, or someone you know that we should talk to, please
talk to me. I can be contacted in the first instance at email email@example.com