BACTEST wins £40,000 low-carbon award - Shell Springboard 2015



Cambridgeshire based Professor Annie Brooking, CEO of Bactest, has been awarded £40,000 by Shell Springboard to launch Shepherd, a cutting-edge monitoring technology helping water companies to save energy.


Shepherd is designed to manage and monitor activated sludge* a step in the waste water treatment process that requires healthy biological activity. However the current test to measure the health of this bacteria takes five days, thus test results cannot be used for operational decision making. To ensure that the process is optimal, waste water companies estimate the amount of oxygen required by bacteria to keep it healthy, frequently over estimating by as much as 33%. Over-aeration is costly and wastes energy.

Shepherd’s technology delivers this test on bacteria every 60 minutes, enabling waste water companies to cut aeration to the optimal amount required by the process and save energy.

Currently, aeration of activated sludge takes up 2% of all electricity generated in the UK. If Shepherd were to be implemented across just 135 UK water plants, it could save 16,000 tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to the annual consumption of 7,200 domestic flats.

Bactest secured a place in the national final of Shell Springboard, a programme supporting low-carbon start-ups to develop and grow by providing support and funding.

Professor Annie Brooking, CEO of Bactest said: “Shell Springboard is a very prestigious low-carbon industry award and we are really proud to be a regional winner. The £40,000 funding will help with the imminent launch of Shepherd on the 5th of March, so the timing is absolutely perfect! We will use our winnings to accelerate commercialisation of the product, boosting Shepherd sales in the UK and enabling us to commence our search for international distributors.”

John MacArthur, Shell Vice President of Gas Technology, added: “We’re proud that Shell Springboard supports start-ups like Bactest, who are truly at the leading-edge of the low-carbon economy. The big ideas coming out of these small businesses are not only helping to create a lower carbon energy future, they are generating a new wave of jobs and economic growth in the UK.”

To date, over 250 new jobs have been created by the enterprises supported through the Shell Springboard programme, generating annual turnover of more than £60 million.

For more information about Shell Springboard and how to apply for future funding, please visit:

To read more information, click here.


BACTEST is a Cambridge, UK based company that has developed a technology platform, CYTOMAIA, a bacterial respirometer which is used to incubate bacteria and detect and measure biological activity and contamination in liquid in labs, bottling lines (rapid release), water and waste water.

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