The Lancashire company aiming to clean up with its bacterial solutions after £500,000 investment

Harnessing the power of nature to deal with some of the most revolting, gungy problems around looks set to help a new Lancashire firm aiming to clean up in 2022.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 12:30 pm

ABS, Advanced Bacterial Sciences, creates, manufactures and sells biological solutions to tackle a range of pollution problems from blocked drains and smelly toilets to clearing out grease traps and dealing with farm slurry in an environmentally friendly way without the use of powerful chemicals.

Its two chief scientists Dr Bobby Holdbrook and Dr Gabriella Moreles both did PhDs at Lancaster University and the firm, initially based at its Environment Centre, has hired a number of alumni from the university.

The firm is positioned for growth in 2022 having secured half a million pounds fund from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund through Maven Equity Finance, and by having found new premises at White Lund industrial estate to create an innovation centre.

The team from ABS getting set to use one of their products at an industrial site in Lancashire

It plans to have around 50 scientist working there in the next two years or so thanks to the support it has had from the county.

Gareth Hughes, chairman and co-founder of ABS said it marks the start of an aggressive growth period and its ambitions to create a centre of excellence here in Lancashire.

He said: “The reception we have had is all very positive. With everything going on around net zero in the north West after COP 26 its all very complementary.

“The intention is to create offices and labs at the three storey building and attract other university start-ups, complementary to what we do, to develop there. This fusion of interests will be powerful in building a network.”

They use bacteria to digest pollution

“Everything we do you will find in nature. Bacteria for millennia have broken down waste and turned it into other things.

“We have a suite of products, all non-toxic and non-pathogenic, and we essentially turbo-charge them. We work out which strain works best in each individual environment and they work in situ.”

They have one product which breaks down uric acid which causes smells in public toilets and another that digests fats and grease from restaurants and other establishments.

They also have a product that breaks down hydrocarbons such as oil spillages and another which can rebalance lake environments getting rid of excessive algae to give clean water. Yet another digests agricultural run off, allowing the reuse of much of the nitrates and phosphates as fertiliser.

The powdered product activates when it comes into contact with a food source and begins to digest the greasy waste

Maven Equity Finance managed by Maven Capital Partners and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has invested £500,000 in the firm which will enable ABS to further commercialise its portfolio of products, sell directly to end users, as well as invest in continuous product development, patenting future technologies and scientific advances.

The new location will help to reduce outsourcing of third party bacteria creation and offer a more tailored approach to its clients’ needs. The scope of ABS’ bacteria solutions covers multiple large scale markets including: hospitality, sanitation, water management, agriculture, property management and construction.

Gareth Hughes has a background as a corporate advisor with experience in low carbon enterprise, from start-ups to major public companies. He is also a founder of two capital advisory and funding firms and in this new venture, is backed by a strong team across the organisation’s commercial and scientific departments.

ABS is a member of RedCAT, a scheme launched last year that aims to drive Lancashire’s post-pandemic recovery with investment in low carbon technologies.

Scientists from ABS testing their products on a drain at a Lancashire manufacturing site

Alex Rothwell, senior investment manager at Maven, said: “ABS presents environmentally friendly solutions to global issues and the business has created and patented a range of products that have great potential market across numerous sectors.

"The highly experienced and commercially focused senior team is well placed to drive the growth ambitions of the business forward and we are delighted to support Gareth and the management on a programme of expansion.”

Debbie Francis OBE, chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: ‘’It’s great to hear that yet another Lancashire company has successfully secured equity investment from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.”

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The range of products act in suit to deal with a variety of pollution issues