You’ve reached your limit!

To continue enjoying Utility Week Innovate, brought to you in association with Utility Week Live or gain unlimited Utility Week site access choose the option that applies to you below:

Register to access Utility Week Innovate

  • Get the latest insight on frontline business challenges
  • Receive specialist sector newsletters to keep you informed
  • Access our Utility Week Innovate content for free
  • Join us in bringing collaborative innovation to life at Utility Week Live

Login Register

Six new tech firms selected for United Utilities Innovation Lab

United Utilities has unveiled half-a-dozen new tech partners, ranging from autonomous vehicles that collect and analyse water samples to an valve management app, following a global search for firms to join its accelerator program.

The Innovation Lab’s fourth edition saw tech players submit ideas across digital network business, energy efficiency, net zero and natural, and wildcard categories, with 30 entrants shortlisted to virtually pitch their ideas in January.

Selected technologies will now be developed by the successful six over the next three months in tandem with United Utilities – which delivers 1.8 billion litres of water to more than three million homes and businesses in the north west daily – before final products are presented at a demonstration day in July.

The chosen firms have been lined up to help to reduce leakage and flooding, cut the cost of water treatment and keep more people safe. They are:

  • Smartvalve, based in Lincoln, which has developed an app to manage and monitor manual valve operations. By ensuring all valve operations are carried out efficiently it reduces the creation of transient pressure which means fewer bursts, leaks and discolouration events.
  • Previsico from Loughborough, the developer behind a warning system for surface water and ordinary water course floods using live hydrodynamic modelling software to generate flood forecasts using cutting edge forecasting technology.
  • Southampton-based ClearWater Sensors, which has been recognised for creating portable battery-powered submersible chemical sensors which can be used for long-term and real-time water chemistry monitoring.
  • VBact from Israel, which has developed a bacterial water scanner to provide real-time continuous automated bio monitoring for water quality and safety applications.
  • Altitude Thinking from Grangemouth in Scotland, the inventor of a series of autonomous, remotely operated vehicles to collect water quality samples and data.
  • Automutatio from Hailshaw, which has developed data management tools to drive improvements in safety performance.

In addition to the companies picked to take part in Innovation Lab Four, United Utilities has also announced that, for the first time, an additional six firms will be invited to collaboratively explore their ideas further.

“We’re now in our fourth lab programme and we all continue to be impressed at the sheer brilliance of some of the ideas and early concepts that come our way,” United Utilities’ head of innovation, Kieran Brocklebank, said.

“Our success from previous labs means that all twelve companies have potential to grow their business and work with us for many years to come. We’re really looking forward to nurturing them and co-creating with them for the benefit of everyone in the water sector.”

Since it began in 2017, United Utilities has awarded long term contracts with eight suppliers via its Innovation Lab, creating forty-five new jobs in the process.

See this content brought to life at Utility Week Live, 17-18 May 2022 NEC Birmingham. FREE to attend for utilities. Register today

Delivering smart water networks is one of the frontline challenges at the heart of Utility Week Live 2022’s live content programme. View the programme.