24 Nov 2023
Meet Atmos International, one of the suppliers joining the Innovation Lab
Could you tell us how you found out about the Innovation Lab and why you decided to pitch your idea?
We were aware of Innovation Lab from previous years through its promotion on social media and via the United Utilities website. Following a discussion with one of United Utilities’ innovation team members, L Marks reached out to Atmos to invite us to submit an application for the fifth Innovation Lab.
We pitched our idea through Innovation Lab to get validation from a large water utility that our new idea would be receptive and to also allow us to build a deeper, stronger relationship with United Utilities.
In simple terms, could you please summarise what your product does?
We’re offering a two-part solution that focuses on rising sewer mains bursts, which often lead to pollution incidents.
The first part of the solution involves a device travelling through the pipeline, conducting a detailed survey to identify existing leaks and high-risk sections that might burst soon.
The second part of the solution involves monitoring those high-risk pipelines using an online leak detection system that identifies and locates new leaks and bursts as they form, allowing operators to locate and fix those bursts quickly and mitigate the environmental damage associated with those bursts.
What is the ultimate benefit your idea will bring to water customers in the Northwest?
In a wastewater capacity, customers will benefit from a reduction in pollution events linked to rising sewer main burst events, protecting the natural environment. Beyond Innovation Lab, the technology will be transferrable to the clean water networks where customers would experience a reduction in water supply interruptions, which is a top priority for the UK water industry.
How are you hoping to develop your idea through the Innovation Lab?
We have a strong conceptual idea, so our intention is to test and adapt the solution as required to enable us to arrive at a point where the solutions are proven and commercially available to water utilities.
How important do you think programmes like the Innovation Lab are for developing ideas?
Very important! Having a structured, time-controlled process allows new products to be tested and adopted far quicker than usual in the UK water sector, which allows water utilities to improve performance sooner and benefit end customers.
What does innovation mean to you in three words?
Creating new solutions
If you fast forward two years from now, where do you see your idea/solution?
We expect our solution to have been fully proven in wastewater and clean water applications, with multiple water utilities in the UK and around the world adopting our technology. As an innovation-led company, we expect to have advanced the technology even further.