After a fantastic morning of informative presentations about gas production and bulk operations, session five had a tough act to follow, but follow it did.
Delegates returned from coffee at the booth circled Ivory Lounge, ready to turn their attention towards Applications and End-Users. Attendance was high for the application centric presentations. Leading the speakers in the role of Chair was Harold Temu, Board Chairman of TOL Gases. Temu brought on stage the three participating speakers to rapturous applause.
Jan Van Houwenhove, Sales Director of VRV was the first to present and opted to deliver a thirty minute overview of Cryobiology and Micro Bulk. He began by emphasising the importance of an application focused approach, “I believe that the success of our industry is based on applications, every day I come across new applications everywhere, both in emerging markets and developing markets. There are thousands of applications out there and it’s just a matter of discovering these. I would like to thank gasworld for providing such an application based agenda.$quot;
Houwenhove not only offered a clear explanation of cryobiology, but he also covered the intricacies of its key applications, namely animal genetics and human health. Keeping to the technical theme from the day’s morning sessions, Houwenhove looked specifically at the technology and instruments used to enable efficient cryo-freezing.
He also addressed the various modes of production, from on-site solutions which are best suited to out of reach locations, to the static ‘milk round’ systems used in laboratories. He concluded by offering encouragement, “Overcoming the operational challenges on the availability of liquid nitrogen is the key for the solid development of this application.”
Emmanuel Rurema, Global Sales Manager for Haffmans BV followed-up Houwenhove’s presentation with an equally end-user driven delivery. As with many of the speakers, Rurema wasn’t timid in addressing the challenges ahead. He began, “Ladies and gentlemen it is a pleasure to be here, I thank gasworld for coming to central Africa on their sixth conference... I’m here to discuss CO₂ in the African beverage industry. In particular, the uses, sources and, as everything is not perfect in this continent, I will also look at the challenges.”
Nevertheless, his presentation did reiterate the promise in the region. Rurema cited a torrent of statistics that galvanised this point. Perhaps most interesting was the fact that in the year 2008-2009, the African brewery industry grew more than any other country in the world, by a respective +4%.
Subsequent speaker, Tony Wheatley, Technical Writer for gasworld specifically addressed cutting and welding, however his perspective did align with Rurema’s, and indeed, previous speakers’.
Rurema summarised the consensus of opinion using the brewery sector as an example, “When you look at the African continent, we can split it into four regions, North, Central, West and Southern. We find that consumers of CO₂ are situated across all four areas. Since you need to have CO₂ close to its application points there are challenges in terms of geography that the industry is trying to respect.”
Indeed such frankness was reciprocated in the subsequeng Q and A session. While overall the afternoon’s proceedings proved that the conference isn’t just a networking opportunity, but actually a device for tackling the challenges that will take the emerging African region into actualising its potential.
After a hectic morning of fuelled and vibrant discussion, delegates made their way towards the Cryostar sponsored lunch. Sunshine, delegate gifts and good food looked set to revive the throng in preparation for the final two speakers and tonight’s send off Cultural Evening.