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Microbial Solutions launches new Bioreactors for toxic waste disposal in Engineering Firms
BAE Systems in negotiation for 30 tonne bioreactor

Microbial Solutions Ltd (MSL), an Oxfordshire company that has developed award-winning ecologically friendly bacterial technologies to dispose of metal working fluids, has launched two new bioreactors. Made to an innovative design, the bioreactors can be enlarged or reduced in size to suit the very different requirements of engineering companies for disposal of hazardous metal working fluids and associated oil contaminated materials.

The launch of the new bioreactors comes hard on the heels of MSL’s successful pilot of a commercial scale bioreactor with BAE Systems, the global aerospace and defence systems manufacturer, at its facility in Brough, East Yorkshire. The trial was recognised with a BAE Systems Chairman’s Award for Innovation and negotiations are proceeding with BAE for the construction and installation of a permanent 30 tonnes bioreactor, to be built to the new design.

Metal working fluids are used during precision cutting of metal – they are cooling lubricants sprayed during the machining process to ensure a clean cut. After use, they contain toxic chemicals and hazardous biological compounds that must be rendered less harmful before the used fluids can be disposed of.

MSL’s Microcycle™ Technology uses a bioreactor unit and ‘friendly bacteria’ to turn toxic exhausted metal working fluids and oils into grey water that is safe to dispose of straight into the sewerage system. The Microcycle™ Technology replaces costly and energy intensive disposal processes, such as vacuum evaporation and ultra filtration which produce toxic oily waste residues, still requiring treatment and then disposal in landfill.

The Company also offers a diagnostics service for components of used metal working fluids such as mycobacteria and endotoxins.

MSL’s new modular and continuous flow bioreactors are rapidly adjustable in capacity and can easily cope with increases or decreases in the production of waste metal working fluids in line with clients’ specific requirements. The modular design allows for bioreactor cells to be added or removed as capacity requirements change.

Where there is a requirement to treat a waste stream on a continuous flow basis, such as a waste metal working fluid production rate which is continuous or of high annual volume, the continuous flow design (which can also be modular) allows for a stream of waste metal working fluid to be fed into the bioreactor and the treated effluent to be discharged continuously. MSL’s continuous flow bioreactors also offer significantly improved effluent quality characteristics when compared with existing bioreactors.

Prof William Pope, CEO of MSL, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to launch these new bioreactors which fulfil specific clients’ requirements, giving our clients the reassurance that we can deliver the design which meets their needs - and with ever improving performance characteristics. These are just the first in a series of new technologies which we will have coming down the pipeline during 2010.”

In September 2009 MSL was a finalist in Oxfordshire Bioscience Network’s Best Early-stage Biotech awards, whilst earlier in the year the Company was awarded the ISO 9001:2000 accreditation by NQA, the leading assessment, verification and certification body.

MSL is also a previous winner of a prestigious Engineering Excellence Award presented by Ford Motor Company to an organisation that makes a significant contribution to engineering or organizational excellence within engine and transmission manufacturing. The Award was presented to MSL in 2008 to recognize the contribution made by the Company in devising tests to assess the control of mycobacteria, a microbial bacteria that can contaminate metalworking fluids and has been linked to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a serious respiratory illness affecting workers in the machining industries.

Microbial Solutions is a spin-out company from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, a research centre owned by the Natural Environment Research Council in the Oxford University Science area.

- ENDS -

Editors Notes
Press enquiries to: Margaret Henry, PR Consultant.
Tel: +44 (0)1865 811199 E-mail:

Images available on request
1. The new bioreactors that have been launched by Microbial Solutions. Made to an innovative modular design, the bioreactors can be easily enlarged or reduced in size to suit the different requirements of engineering companies for disposal of hazardous metal working fluids and associated oil contaminated materials.

2. Photos of Prof Will Pope, CEO of Microbial Solutions, and BAE Systems team members with the bioreactor at BAE Systems site in Brough, East Yorkshire.

1. About Microbial Solutions Ltd
Microbial Solutions is a spin-out company from research conducted at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, a wholly owned research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In December 2007, the company raised £1.2 million to commercialise its innovative wastewater treatment process and is located at the DiagnOx Laboratory, Cherwell Innovation Centre, north Oxfordshire.
Microbial Solutions has developed a treatment process known as Microcycle™ Technology which is based on a patent protecting the use of bacteria to remove the toxic components from metal working fluids (oily lubricants used to ensure clean cutting processes in industry) and produce grey water that is safe to dispose of in the sewerage system.

The patent claims cover a bacterial consortium which has been carefully selected following a worldwide search of bacteria that survive naturally in machine sumps, where they eat metal working fluids. In their ‘natural’ conditions in machine sumps, these bacteria can only survive in relatively low concentrations because of the conditions.
After inoculation with bacteria Microbial Solutions develops a biofilm which eats the different components of waste metal working fluids, Microbial Solutions ensures that the biofilm can thrive in its bioreactors by providing an appropriate environment for them to grow and increase in biomass. The bugs convert the wastes to biomass and the process produces some carbon dioxide, which is 20 times less harmful than methane as a greenhouse gas.

Current disposal processes for metal working fluids often require the used fluids to be transported offsite by tanker to specialist treatment facilities. These treatment processes are expensive and leave a residual oily waste that still has be treated prior to disposal. The use of Microcycle™ Technology avoids these issues.
For more information:

2. About Microbial Solutions management team
Microbial Solutions was founded by Prof Ian Thompson and Dr Christopher van der Gast of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology who remain members of the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board, and shareholders along with NERC.

The other founders and management team members include Prof William Pope, CEO, who is one of the UK’s leaders in managing and developing environmental companies over the last 25 years, and four times a winner of the “Technology Fast 50” awards for the fastest growing companies, and is 2008 “Business Innovation Support person of the Year”, awarded by the SPARC Technology Network. Prof Pope is also a founder director and past Chairman of the Society for the Environment and Vice-President of the Institution of Environmental Science, and a non-executive director of EEDA, the East of England Development Agency.

David Whitby, Chairman, is CEO of Pathmaster Marketing Ltd, an oil, gas and energy industry consultancy and was formerly Business Manager with BP Ventures; Prof Geoff Randall OBE, non-executive director, was formerly Director of Global Safety for Astra Zeneca and is Vice President of the Marine Biological Association; Dr David Kelly, non-executive director, is CEO of H20 Venture Partners and a former director of Oxitec, which has developed an environmentally friendly pest control technology; Dr Victor Christou, non-executive director, is Senior Investment Manager at Oxford Capital Partners; and Dr Duane Ager, formerly of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, is Chief Scientific Officer.

Publisher Contact Information:

Microbial Solutions Ltd
+44 (0)1865 811199

Company profile of Microbial Solutions Ltd
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