Utilities Digital Solutions Europe

Graphene concrete, blue methane, leak-free toilets - latest Innovations

Monday, 4 December 2023

Six companies, including from Canada and Sweden, will join United Utilities latest Innovation Lab to help co-develop solutions together.

Access to a water utility’s resources

Six new companies have been selected for the United Utilities’ (UU) latest Innovation Lab programme – an accelerator partnership with the UK water company.

Following an extensive search from over 600 suppliers, the companies were selected with the solutions being developed over a 14-week period.

The Innovation Lab gives early stage companies, often without a reference project and in need of solution validation, access to UU’s expertise, processes, data and resources to help co-develop and enhance their products.

Four of the six winners are from the UK, alongside companies from Sweden and Canada; in addition, five are new to the UK water sector.


The Innovation Lab latest cohort

The six winning suppliers include:

Atmos International has been working in the oil, gas and chemical industries since 1995 and will now work with United Utilities to test and develop pipeline technologies for better performance and monitoring of water and waste pipes, including leakage detection.

Aqua Robur Technologies from Sweden provides monitoring solutions for water distribution and sewer networks, including an energy harvester which uses the water flow as the only energy source.

Graphene Green Concrete, based at the University of Manchester, is a sustainable concrete material which adds a tiny amount of graphene admixture, to enable recycled aggregates from demolished concrete constructions to be reused on the same site in new construction

Maid Labs Technologies from Canada provides innovative high quality flow meter and diagnostic products, which allow real-time diagnostics to save time, energy and money to increase the efficiency of wastewater pump stations

Save Water Save Money has a potential solution to leaking toilets that use too much water. Through the Innovation Lab they will develop a universal leak-free fix to tackle leaky toilets in residential and commercial properties

Bluemethane is developing technology to capture methane from water, as a new source of power and revenue. This will permanently remove methane from water, reduce global warming and support the energy transition by unlocking a new source of bio-methane.

Promotion to other water companies globally

The latest six companies will now spend 14 intensive weeks with United Utilities before presenting their final products at a demonstration day in February. After that, they will agree the best relationship for the long term.

“Our success from previous labs means that all companies have potential to grow their business and work with us for many years to come. In addition we will promote these ideas across the sector to other water companies globally,” said Kieran Brocklebank, head of innovation at United Utilities.

United Utilities’ idea development programme is run in conjunction with L Marks and has successfully launched new suppliers and new innovations into the water market since it began in 2017.