Over the years, H2O’s multidisciplinary team of entrepreneurial scientists and engineers has had the opportunity to work with world class scientists Microbial Solutions (MSL) (www.microbial-solutions.com) was founded on technology developed by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Oxford, and led by Professor Ian Thompson and Dr Chris van der Gast. They had developed a consortium of bacteria that specialised in the degradation of oily waste waters and in particular metalworking fluids (MWFs), the treatment of which is estimated to cost around $1 billion annually across Europe. Their Microcycle™ technology reduces waste MWFs to acceptable chemical oxygen demand concentrations, removes toxicity and allows for the safe disposal of MWF as grey water to sewers on site.
From the outset the sector focus of the company was clear – the environmentally friendly treatment and disposal of MWFs – but the business model needed work. Over the first six months, H2O worked with the MSL team to conduct detailed market research. This led us to focus on the MWF manufacturers as the key point of market entry.
These multi-billion dollar multi-national companies generate much of their profits not from the sale of fluids, but from the provision of total fluid management contracts that provide operational support for MWFs on large and medium sized client sites.
As a result MSL now partners with MWF manufacturers for the trusted marketing and front-end delivery of its products and services. As the first-in-class on-site, specialist MWF treatment provider, MSL allows its partners to deliver a truly cradle-to-grave service, from supply, through operational management to treatment and disposal, and allows its clients to cost-effectively meet their environmental obligations.
H2O led the development of the business plan, recruited the management, secured the lead commercial partners and raised the first £1.2 million of investment. The company has been fully operational since January 2008 and in addition to its work in the UK it is in the planning phase for operations overseas. It has won many awards over the years, most recently the 2011 EDIE award for Environmental Excellence (waste water category).