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Members collaborate to drive innovation and business growth – Warden Plastics Ltd and Cranfield University

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 26 May 2022

Warden Plastics Ltd. have over 60 years of experience in plastic injection moulding and extrusion. With the in-house capabilities to manufacture a vast array of recycled plastic components to customer specifications, Warden Plastics serves customers in diverse industrial sectors, from automotive, medical, DIY, furniture and wastewater.

Driven by increasing health, safety, environmental concerns and population growth, the wastewater industry is coming under increasing regulatory pressures to tighten the level of pollutants, including nutrients, that can be discharged from wastewater treatment plants. The limits are extremely difficult to achieve using conventional treatment processes. Retrofitting wastewater treatment plants, so that they meet the regulatory requirements and at the same time align with NET-ZERO targets, these are major priorities of Water Utilities in the UK and globally. The options to address these include the costly redesign of existing plants and/or the use of chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

To provide a solution to these issues, Warden offer a novel patented biocarrier developed by working with Prof. Ana Soares (Professor of Biotechnology Engineering, Cranfield University). The biocarrier is a support media, with an intricate design, that sustains the growth of a very active microbial biofilm that removes pollutants from wastewater, quickly and effectively. It offers the benefits of reduced wastewater treatment plant footprint, overall reduction in total energy use at wastewater treatment plants and can be easily introduced into existing plants regardless their age.

Since this initial work, Cranfield University successfully supported Warden to apply for a government funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership that allowed them to develop a 3-year business-led scheme of work to drive business growth. In addition to contributing 67% of the project costs, the funding also provides:
• A full-time Associate dedicated to the project
• Associate training
• High level academic time (0.5 d/week)
• Consumables, travel and subsistence
• Administrative support from the university
The project has allowed Warden to embed in-depth knowledge and capabilities in proving new wastewater biocarrier products with scientific rigour, as well as using data for new product development. The academic skillsets, combined with the dedicated project Associate, have been invaluable and are set to increase the company’s market share of the ~£17.1 billion global municipal wastewater equipment market.

To find out more about working with Cranfield University through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership contact Sandra Messenger (Knowledge Exchange Manager, Cranfield University) by emailing

Topics: cranfield university, Warden Biomedia, Warden Plastics, Knowledge Transfer Partnership

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