Catching up with Tom Uiterwaal

Tom Uiterwaal

This edition of Catching Up is with Tom Uiterwaal, founder and CEO of Reconergy Ltd.

1. Tom, for those who don’t know you, could you introduce yourself and Reconergy?

My name is Tom Uiterwaal, and I came to Hong Kong in 2008 with my wife and three young children. I initially came here to build a biodiesel factory. Biodiesel is a green alternative for regular diesel, made from renewable materials. Using biodiesel gives up to 90% carbon dioxide emission reduction compared to using normal diesel. 

In 2012 I started my own company Reconergy (Hong Kong) Ltd. sourcing waste materials in Asia for biofuel producers in Europe. The waste material we source is Used Cooking Oil (UCO), collected from restaurants and factories, to be used as a sustainable feedstock. Using waste materials for producing biofuels solves two problems: reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the transport sector.

2. You recently announced a new venture, called Sino Renewables (Shanghai) Ltd. What does it aim to do?

There are two important reasons why we decided to set-up a sister company in Mainland China:

  • Commercial: Mainland China is the biggest exporter of Used Cooking Oil (UCO) in the world. But global demand is expected to grow in the next couple of years that even the supply of UCO from China will become tight. That is why we have decided to move up the supply chain and get closer to the suppliers of UCO in China to assure regular supply to our customers also in the future. 
  • Regulatory: companies in Europe face new EU regulations making them more responsible for the supply chain of their products worldwide. By going upstream in the supply chain in China, we are able to give our customers more transparency and information which will help them to meet the requirements of these new regulations. 

3. Sino Renewables will be based in Shanghai. Which advantages does this location offer to your new venture?

Shanghai is the commercial centre of China. Therefore, the local government has a lot of experience dealing with export companies like us. 

4. What is your outlook on the market conditions in China?

Biofuels are now also starting to be used for decarbonizing maritime shipping and air transport. Other low- or even zero-carbon products maybe more suitable to be used in these industries. We are currently working with our partners in China on investment projects to make these products available for these industries to help them to meet the climate goals of the future.