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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.

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