Dr. Alex Mojon, Chief Scientific Officer at MOG AG, discusses sustainable methods of soil remediation, oil-stained track beds and Swiss train drivers.
Dr. Mojon, a straightforward question: What does MOG AG do better than the others?
Straight answer: a lot. For a more reasoned response, we must briefly look back at our history. Before we developed new methods for soil remediation and oil recovery from sludge, we carried out an in-depth analysis of existing technologies. We have invested several million dollars over the course of three years to thoroughly test and evaluate all available techniques and procedures.
What have you learned?
One rather big surprise for us was that many of the procedures used today are still based on technology from the 1960s and 70s. The latest scientific insights and technological progress have yet to find their way into these methods, which, as a result, are often inefficient or no longer meet legal requirements.
In addition, almost all current methods have at least one crucial weakness. They are either environmentally unsustainable or technologically complex and therefore expensive, or often both. For example, when it comes to oil recovery from sludge, waste products usually have to be further treated or disposed of in landfills, which only displaces the problem rather than solving it. Other methods use expensive chemicals or complex machinery, making them economically unattractive.
With this in mind, your team began developing new methods.
Exactly, although it is a combination of methods that addresses the other methods’ shortcomings. With our mobile plant, STORM-15, we can clean the contaminated soil and sludge on-site, reclaim the oil contained within it and make it industrially usable again.
Our patented methods NHS and NHS+ remediate soil, surfaces and residual sludge without polluting residue. The chemical reagents used are inexpensive and completely biodegradable. We cover the entire spectrum of treatment, recovery and purification.
Our R&D team has access to the latest academic research and receives support from international research institutes in order to constantly improve our chemical, biochemical and mechanical components.
And now I can finally answer the initial question: It is the combination of economic, scientific and environmental properties that makes our solution the world’s leading technology. And I am very proud of that.
MOG AG has gone through several recent changes. There were replacements at the highest management level as part of profound restructuring. How do you assess the actions taken so far?
Indeed, we have made a few mistakes recently, but we recognized them and acted consistently. I am pleased that we retain the support of our partners and shareholders. It is my personal goal to make this company successful and profit from our growing markets, in close cooperation with my highly motivated team.
I believe we are on a very good path. We have continued to refined our methods and successfully executed several large contracts. So far we have realized but a fraction of our business potential. Our market is huge, and our business very strong. In addition to our business success, I would like to add that my team and I take great pride in the fact that our work helps companies and communities lessen the impact of imminent or existing environmental disasters.
What about the European Market? MOG has not been very active here.
That is correct and, fortunately, changing as we speak. We are currently in talks with the largest European railway companies regarding the remediation of track beds. This is an important and frequent issue that costs railway companies immense sums. The track ballast is contaminated with fuels, lubricants and herbicides, which until now had to be removed and cleaned elsewhere or immediately deposited in a landfill.
The TÜV-approved NHS+ procedure offers several key advantages, not least of which is the ability to be run on-site. Right now we are preparing a test track in Switzerland to demonstrate the advantages. We rebuilt a cargo train engine in order to apply the liquid components to the gravel in a multi-step process. The team has worked very hard to perfect the setup, and the first test results are very satisfying.
This summer we will meet with railway executives at a shared event on the test site to demonstrate our technology. Strangely enough, our biggest problem at the moment is finding an authorized Swiss locomotive engineer for that date to actually operate the test engine. Nevertheless, I am very confident that we will solve this question and convince the railway managers on the spot.