Whitley Workstation Used in Novel Bio Fuel Process

Bio Fuel Process 1

Whitley Workstations are manufactured primarily for use in hospitals, public health laboratories, food testing organisations, pharmaceutical companies and research institutions. However one piece of Don Whitley Scientific equipment has found its home at one of the most interesting and exciting biofuel production companies in the UK, Celtic Renewables Ltd.


Professor Martin Tangney founded Celtic Renewables in 2012 at Edinburgh Napier University. After searching for a low cost renewable energy source he opted to look at using residues from the Whisky industry to produce biobutanol, a fuel which can be blended with both petrol and diesel. By using the by-products of one of Scotland’s most popular exports (the Scottish Malt Whisky industry is worth £4 billion) he has built a hugely successful biofuel company that has gained attention and acclaim worldwide.


Celtic Renewables Ltd adapt the ABE fermentation process (Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol) to use a sustainable substrate combining solid and liquid residues from the whisky industry which is fermented by bacteria to produce biobutanol.


The Whitley DG500 Anaerobic Workstation is used to do all small scale manipulations of anaerobic strains (solventogenic strains of Clostridia) during this process. Eve Bird, Head of Research and Innovation points out that within a Whitley Workstation “These manipulations are far more convenient, safe and reliable than carrying them out within glass bottles rendered anaerobic with an over-pressure of sterile nitrogen”.


Bio Fuel Process 2

This process also provides a sustainable method of by-product disposal for one of the UK’s largest industries. Only 10% of a distillery’s output is future whisky, the rest is Draff and Pot Ale which are the two by-products combined to create the substrate from which biobutanol is produced. This biofuel can then be used as a direct replacement for fossil-derived fuel, reducing oil consumption and carbon dioxide emissions whilst providing energy security and making efforts to meet EU mandated biofuel targets.


For more information on Celtic Renewables Ltd, click here.

Paper published involving use of Whitley Anaerobic Workstation

Fallstudie Arbeitsstationen und Spiralplater

A paper has been published describing the effects of oxygen limitation on food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. The study was conducted by Carol Philips’ group at The University of Northampton and involved the use of a Whitley Anaerobic Workstation as well as a Whitley Automated Spiral Plater. The workstation was used to incubate the samples which were then plated onto BHI (Brain Heart Infusion) agar using the spiral plater.


This is just one of the areas of microbiology where Don Whitley Scientific equipment can be beneficial. Due to the level of atmospheric control on offer, Whitley Workstations are used across the broad spectrum of microbiology and can also be used in other scientific disciplines.


The Whitley Workstation range includes various sizes of workstations, accommodating 250 to 1200 petri dishes. Other products on offer from Don Whitley Scientific can be used in conjunction with our workstations, for example in this study a Whitley Automated Spiral Plater was also used.


Click here to read the full study

Whitley A35 Workstation as a crucial update for the University of Sheffield

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Rob Fagan’s lab recently welcomed a new addition in the form of a Whitley A35 Anaerobic Workstation. Located at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Rob Fagan’s group study the interaction between Clostridium difficile and its host. Until recently, the group were monitoring their samples within a Whitley MG500 Workstation. They will continue to use this older unit but have now acquired the much more sophisticated A35 Workstation to use alongside it. The amount of atmospheric control that the A35 offers is greatly beneficial to work of this type, and real time feedback on the conditions within the cabinet makes monitoring results far more accurate. The rapid airlock system also makes the removal and addition of samples an efficient process, all whilst maintaining stable atmospheric conditions.


“Our work focusses on the secretion, assembly, structure and function of Clostridium difficile surface structures – in particular the S-layer. The A35 is an addition to our existing anaerobic work space. We started the lab 3 years ago with a recommissioned MG500. The A35 is a much more advanced piece of kit, allowing much greater control and monitoring of our anaerobic growth conditions. For some of our work this capability is absolutely crucial.” Dr Robert Fagan, the University of Sheffield


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