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19 March, 2008 - 10:19 By Staff Reporter

MK start-up raises funds to roll out technology

A Milton Keynes start-up has raised £1.2m to commercialise wastewater treatment technology, having successfully trialled the system with a “major car manufacturer.”

The technology uses a patent protected collection of ‘clever’ non-pathogenic bacteria to cleanse toxic metal working fluids from the engineering industry. The Milton Keynes Enterprise Hub based company was recently spun out from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and is fronted by CEO, Will Pope. Pope has been managing and developing environmental companies over the last 25 years. He is also a founder director and past chairman of the Society for the Environment and vice-president of the Institution of Environmental Science. The investment round was led by Oxford Capital Partners investing alongside H2O Venture Partners, which also provided management input to develop the company. The Rainbow Seed Fund, the company’s initial investor, committed further capital. The technology has been trialled successfully with a leading car manufacturer and Microbial is set to conduct a commercial pilot of its patented bacterial treatment, known as ‘Microcycle Technology’. “We’ve been working at the Enterprise Hub now for about the last year planning this project, so we are delighted to have secured the funding we need to take our technology to market,” said Pope. “Microcycle can revolutionise the treatment and disposal of metalworking fluids and generate significant cost savings as future disposal costs rise. The costs of waste disposal in Europe alone are already estimated at around 1 billion euros per annum.” Milton Keynes Enterprise Hub director Chris Dunkley said: “This is excellent news for Milton Keynes and, of course, for Will Pope. A number of Hub companies have benefited from his extensive business experience through the Enterprise Hub network mentoring programme, so it’s a great example to our innovators and entrepreneurs of just what can be achieved.” Microbial Solutions has also announced a partnership with Houghton Europe, the leading provider of industrial fluids, which will see the two firms provide a complete supply and treatment process to major manufacturing companies. The current disposal processes for metal working fluids – oily lubricants used to ensure clean cutting processes during drilling and manufacturing –  require them to be transported offsite to specialist treatment facilities. These treatment processes, according to Microbial, are energy intensive, expensive and cannot remove all the toxic components. The residual oily waste has to be transported to landfill for disposal, where the anaerobic degradation produces the high impact climate change gas, methane.   Microbial Solutions’ on-site bacterial process can treat metal working fluids within seven to 10 days producing grey water that is safe to dispose of in the sewerage system, and with no methane production in the process. Water re-use is also possible.

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