Bacterial waste treatment tested

A system using microbes to clean waste metal-working fluids is about to be tested commercially.

Researchers from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology developed the method, which allows the oily waste liquid to be treated on site and released into sewers.

Currently, metal-working fluids are sent to a specialist treatment site. The treatment process is energy intensive and some residues have to be sent to landfill.

Researchers have created bioreactors to carry out the process and set up a company, Microbial Solutions, to commercialise them. The company has tested the technology with an unnamed carmaker and has just raised £1.2 million which will allow it to start trials with a "major aerospace manufacturer" soon.

The bacteria digest the metal-working fluid without releasing methane or hydrogen sulphide, says the company.

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