A scheme to help innovative businesses develop has been launched by United Utilities.

Following last year’s Innovation Lab programme, which saw seven companies developing their ideas, United Utilities has started the application process looking for its second cohort.

The Innovation Lab offers a unique opportunity for innovative businesses to collaborate with the water company, helping to tackle key business challenges.

The programme is run with corporate innovation specialist, L Marks.

Successful lab participants will work with United Utilities to test, develop, improve and demonstrate their product or service in a live customer environment over 10 weeks.

This year each category is focused on how innovative companies can help United Utilities develop its systems thinking plans and improve service performance.

Steve Fraser, United Utilities chief operating officer, said: “Last year’s Innovation Lab was a huge success.

“We made connections and set up contracts with some exciting new suppliers that would never have crossed our path otherwise.

“It’s fair to say that the lab helped us to hone our business plan, bringing innovation right to the forefront.”

Penrith firm Typhon Treatment Systems was one of seven finalists in the lab in 2017.

It is currently developing one of the first water treatment systems in the world capable of using UV from LEDs to neutralise harmful micro-organisms on an industrial scale.

Following the lab, it won a contract with United Utilities to develop the technology, which could help slash the cost of water treatment worldwide.

Other LED UV treatment systems are only effective at treating small amounts of water for very low flows or personal use.

Typhon’s long term contract with United Utilities follows the world’s first large scale operational trial of the technology at the water firm’s Cumwhinton Water Treatment Works, near Carlisle, where Typhon built a test LED UV reactor.