In Profile: Henry Madders of Citadel

By Anita Jaynes on May 05, 2014

Citadel is a Wiltshire based company tucked away in the rural village of Grittleton, just outside of Chippenham. It is a family run business headed up by father and son team David and Henry Madders.

The business is split into several divisions. Citadel International Security Services which provides high security fencing in West Africa, access control, CCTV and sheet piling.  Citadel who’s UK factory is based in Telford, manufactures railings, bespoke architectural metal work, five a side football pitches and panel fencing systems. Dyrad Handrail Systems factory is in Sheffield, the heart of the UK steel industry, this division provides stainless steel staircases, stainless steel hand rails and swimming pool steps. And, Citadel Environmental Solutions that works with anaerobic digesters, waste water treatment plants and remediation.

This dynamic and fast growing business is developing highly unique products that are being used on a global stage. We interviewed Henry to find out more about the business and its plans for the future.

What is your role in the company?

My role in Citadel is pretty unique as I work for all the divisions of Citadel Industries.  I wear many hats on many days, but it’s never boring as we offer a wide variety of products and services.  One of my main concentrations is working on my license for the environmental side of the business- Citadel Environmental Solutions UK.  I started the company in January 2013 which I own entirely and I am the licensee for the UK for Citadel Environmental Solutions Ltd, which began trading in 2010 which is jointly owned by my father, the inventor of Biocat+, Ray Long and myself.

How did Citadel Environmental Solutions evolve?

My father started the company after many years working in Nigeria. Citadel Industries works for all the major oil companies and local government agencies supplying high security for their various sites. Obviously in Nigeria there is a lot of crime against these organisations with people stealing oil (bunkering) and we have assisted with these groups to clean up a lot of the oil that has spilt- this is called remediation.

We have a product made from sphagnum moss which is grown in Canada. This moss normally absorbs 10 times it weight in water, but we apply a process to it called heat activation, which changes it from being hydrophilic to hydrophobic. This means that it now repels water and absorbs hydrocarbons and derivative, this can then soaks up oil that has been spilt. Not only does it absorb it, but it also fully encapsulates the hydrocarbons into the moss up to a 4 bar pressure, so once it is removed from the site being remediated,  it can then be transported to another site to be burned without the concern of it contaminating any other land. The product won’t leak unless 4 times the force of gravity is applied to it.

Over the years we have always looked at ways to improve our processes and develop our product range. During this quest we came across a Yorkshire man who lived in South Africa, over the last 15 years had been developing a new 100% natural product.  We arranged to meet him to explain what it did and we found that this new technology enhanced the oil break down even further, so we bought the intellectual property from him and rebranded it Citadel Biocat+.

Once we had this new technology (Citadel Biocat+1) we decided to experiment with it, and we discovered that if we added it to an Anaerobic Digester (this is in essence a big tank where you put anything that has organic matter, bacteria then breaks this down and produces methane, you then burn the methane and make electricity- renewable energy), it significantly increased the breakdown of the organics matter in the AD plant, and therefore we were able to increase the Biogas produced by around 10-20% with the same amount of feed stock going into the Digester. Obviously on an AD plant that is producing in excess of £1,000,000.00 this was very attractive to the operators.  Our business model works differently to most, we put our technology in and if it doesn’t work then we don’t want paying, when it does, we want a % of the extra revenue, that’s how confident we are!

The benefits include increasing biogas production whilst improving stability and reducing both cycle time and odours which can be a problem for locals living near these plants. Increased biogas production of at least 10% has been made in each anaerobic digestion plants that we have used our product at. Additional benefits to biogas generation have been improved stability, reduced cycle time, increased loading, reduced organic content of waste.

We are now starting to work with waste water treatment plants (WWTP’s), our product Biocat+ can massively reduce the running costs of these plants by energy saving, waste disposal and chemicals.  The introduction of Citadel Biocat+2 to waste water treatment plants can be a major factor in process improvement. Frequently providing solutions where effluent quality is poor and limited capital is available, the benefits of Citadel Biocat+ include:

  • Energy savings
  • Elimination of odour
  • Reduction of high COD
  • Increased nitrification and denitrification
  • Reduced sludge production

This is a new avenue for us and we think this will be a hugely beneficial for both us and the waste water industry.

Are you looking to release any new products in the coming months/ years? 

We have 4 types of Biocat+ (1,2,3&4).  Biocat+3 is for agriculture and horticulture who need natural solutions to meeting the ever-growing global demand for food. Derived from natural plant material comprising micro-organisms, micro-nutrients, co-factors and phages.  Citadel Biocat+ is a versatile route to increased livestock and plant yields through microbial bio-nutrition.  We have done trials with this in countries with less hoops to jump through than the UK and we have had great results. We are looking to work with the environmental agency and like minded agencies, to see if we can do a trial in the UK to get full UK approval.

What motivates you?

I would be lying if I said having a great standard of living doesn’t motivate me.  I have lived all around the world but I love living in Bath and the surrounding area.

I was no scientist at school and I have had to learn on the job, but I find the area I work in very fascinating. Although I suspect I bore the hell out of my friends after a few beers.  I want to grow the business, so to do that you have to be pretty motivated and educate yourself with new developments as they arise. It is also great to work with my team and see them grow and develop.

What do you think the secret is to your success? 

We are very lucky that we have a unique product that no one else in the world has, we know this won’t be forever, but to make it work we have to work hard with our small but dynamic team, but at the end of the day hard work is what it takes, oh yeah, and this little thing called ‘detail’!

What executive tool/gadget could you not live without?

To be honest, I’m a pretty simple man, I’m not massively into my gadgets, but the one thing I can’t live without is my A4 dairy, it’s pretty simple but it works.  I make a list of things that have to be done and its pretty satisfying when you see a line crossed through all the tasks.

If you could invite any character in history to your next party who would it be and why? 

I’m pretty keen on sport but I would have loved to have Ayrton Senna. I think he was slightly mad but also a genius in what he could do with a car, I would hope he would turn up with a bottle of local Brazilian booze and help me keep the party going!