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  • by Karma Loveday

Innovation programme draws 130 entries

United Utilities has started to draw up its short list for ideas submitted by more than 130 businesses seeking funding and support for innovative projects under the water companies Innovation Lab scheme.

The participants have responded to United Utilities’ invitation to submit proposals that can help the water sector to “reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects, harness environmental technologies to enhance river quality, and help domestic and business customers become more water efficient.”

United Utilities said it has received proposals from 22 countries that include technologies to clean plastic waste from rivers, smart water meters that raise awareness of water consumption, systems for water recycling, and sonar leakage detection systems.

The company said its next step is to “whittle the entries down to a shortlist of up to 25 who will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts from across United Utilities.”

The 14-week Innovation Lab is run by early stage investor, L Marks, and begins on 2nd October 2023 and ends with demostrations during the week commencing 12th February 2024.

Head of Innovation, Kieran Brocklebank, said: “We will be offering companies, some of which may be small start-ups, and others who have never worked with our industry, the opportunity to work in the water sector where we can learn from them, and they can learn from us.

“It also goes way beyond United Utilities as the ideas that we nurture through the Innovation Lab process are shared across the industry.”

Since its launch in 2017, more than 500 ideas have been submitted to the Innovation Lab and it has lawarded long-term contracts with ten suppliers. According to the water firm, all Innovation Lab applicants have received support and endorsement from United Utilities and have attracted almost £100m in external funding to support their ideas.


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