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Microbial Solutions scoops Ford Engineering Excellence Award for bacterial technology

Microbial Solutions Ltd, an Oxfordshire company developing innovative technologies to assess and cleanse toxic metal working fluids used in the engineering industry, has won a Ford Motor Company TMM Engineering Excellence Award.

The Ford TMM Engineering Excellence Award is given to individuals or teams who have made a significant contribution to engineering or organizational excellence within engine and transmission manufacturing.

The Award was presented to Microbial Solutions 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 industry.

Microbial Solutions participated in the controlling mycobacteria project alongside senior employees from Ford’s production, manufacturing and environmental engineering departments.

Professor Will Pope, Chief Executive Officer of Microbial Solutions, said: “We are honoured to receive this prestigious Award from Ford Motor Company and delighted that the contribution which Microbial Solutions’ innovative technology can make to the engineering industry is being recognized in this way.”

Microbial Solutions is a spin-out company from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, a research centre owned by the Natural Environment Research Council. The company also has an innovative bacterial treatment, known as ‘Microcycle™ Technology’, which turns used metal working fluids into grey water that is safe to dispose of in the sewerage system within seven to ten days and with no methane production – radically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The hope is that it could replace existing costly and energy intensive disposal processes, which rely on transporting metal working fluids to specialist treatment facilities to produce an oily waste that is transported to landfill for disposal, where its anaerobic degradation produces methane.

Microbial Solutions is currently conducting a commercial pilot of its ‘Microcycle™ Technology’, at the site of a major aerospace manufacturer. The company is also working in partnership with Houghton Europe, the leading provider of industrial fluids, with the objective of providing a complete supply and treatment process to major manufacturing companies using industrial fluids.

Industrial firms face pressure from regulators to reduce the pollution and toxicity of waste fluids as well as the amount of waste sent to landfill and climate change gas emissions. The Microcycle™ Technology could help them meet their targets while generating significant cost savings as disposal costs rise - in Europe alone they are estimated at around 1 billion euros per annum.

Microbial Solutions uses a bioreactor (a large cylinder) containing non-pathogenic bacteria that together ‘eat’ the polluting and toxic elements of metal working fluids. The on-site bacterial process is provided on a ‘pay as you treat’ per litre basis, offering price certainty and stability to manufacturers.

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

Photos available on request
1. Microbial Solutions receives the Ford TMM Engineering Excellence Award.
L-R: Martin Everitt (Production Engineering Manager, Ford); Stuart Burn (Technical Specialist, Hydrocarbons & Environment, Ford); Will Pope (Chief Executive Officer, Microbial Solutions); Margaret Beever (Environmental Engineer, Ford); Paul Kirk (Six Sigma Black Belt, Ford) and Mark Blair (Director of Manufacturing Engineering, Ford).

2. L-R: A flask with untreated metal working fluid and a flask with non-toxic grey water following treatment with Microbial Solutions’ ‘clever’ bacterial consortium. The grey water can be safely disposed of in the sewerage system.

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 now located at the DiagnOx Laboratory in Cherwell Innovation Centre, North Oxfordshire.

Microbial Solutions has developed a treatment process known as ‘Microcycle™ Technology’, which uses a patent-protected collection of non-pathogenic, clever 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 bacterial consortium has been carefully selected following a worldwide search of hundreds 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 very low concentrations because of the conditions.

After isolating complementary bacteria that co-exist without destroying each other and eat the different components of waste metal working fluids, Microbial Solutions ensures that they can thrive in its bioreactors (cylinders) 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 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 has to be transported to landfill for disposal, where their anaerobic degradation produces the high impact climate change gas, methane.

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 Strategic 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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