Genesis Biosciences hope to generate more energy from waste

Meet Genesis Biosciences, one of the suppliers joining our Innovation Lab. 

Could you tell us how you found out about the Innovation Lab and why you decided to pitch your idea? 

We had previously worked on a project at United Utilities’ HQ to reduce the plastic usage and improve the environmental credentials associated with the facilities management. It was during this project our Regional Business Development Manager Peter Wallbank found out about the Innovation labs from his UU contacts. 

Around the same time, we had just developed a product for the biogas industry based on observations from the use of our previously existing technology in a pig slurry fed plant. As the Innovation call opened, we had just received some very encouraging data from the first major trial of the prototype at a sludge fed municipal plant in Italy. As the benefits of the technology aligned very strongly with the bioresource category of the Innovation call, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to investigate the feasibility of the technology for the UK municipal market.   

In simple terms, could you please summarise what your product does?

Our product is a biotechnological platform that combines safe environmentally sourced bacteria with a naturally occurring mineral. The bacteria and the mineral work together to improve and bolster the microbial processes that drive biogas production from sludge and waste. 

The bacteria help to secrete a diverse range of enzymes to help breakdown waste into smaller components for conversion into biogas.

The mineral acts as a type of refuge for the most sensitive microbes associated with biogas production allowing them to increase in number and become more resistant to environmental stress. This enables them to do more, which means more biogas from the input waste. 

What is the ultimate benefit your idea will bring to water customers in the North West? 

The technology should help United Utilities to generate more energy from waste and reduce the final biosolids needed for disposal. This should help to lower operating costs, carbon emissions and reduce the need for incineration of the waste. In short: less waste and more revenue from waste. 

How are you hoping to develop your idea through the Innovation Lab? 

We have a good base of success from our Italian trials and we would like to translate this through to a UK based municipality. As the trial gets underway working with United Utilities will enable us to generate more in-depth and scientific data, which have otherwise struggled to do. This will help us refine and improve future technologies and also better understand how the technology works in UK style systems.  

How important do you think programmes like the Innovation Lab are for developing ideas? 

Programmes such as the innovation lab are a much-needed innovation platform to enrich and improve the wastewater industry. Before these types of programmes, the UK municipal market was effectively sealed off from external innovations. This created a roadblock in transitioning and demonstrating new approaches and technologies that could have the potential to improve both the economic and environmental credentials of wastewater treatment works. These programmes will ultimately make the UK wastewater industry more robust and better able to cope with future challenges and demands. 

What does innovation mean to you in three words? 

Impactful environmental improvement

If you fast forward two years from now, where do you see your product?

We would like to see our technology implemented across the best part of the UK infrastructure, delivering environmental and economic benefits to the people of Great Britain.