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Back in November, Yorkshire Water hosted an Innovation Day in collaboration with the EIC, to find out more about some of the innovative solutions put forward by the EIC’s innovation Community. The solutions presented were put forward in response to the EIC’s latest Industry Challenge, and additionally, by other innovators identified by Yorkshire Water’s own teams, including framework contractors. Here’s a look at what the Innovation Day entailed, and how it gave both Yorkshire Water and the innovators in attendance the opportunity to explore the challenge and potential solutions even further. 


What was the challenge?


Prior to the Innovation Day, Yorkshire Water worked with the EIC to identify a challenge currently prevalent in the water industry. They found that they were looking for innovations that could enhance their performance in tackling leakage and water quality issues, and also extend asset life in a cost-effective way to reduce the number of repairs required. 


Specifically, they were interested in solutions that could be used on their drinking water networks, where a lining, coating or other solution would improve water quality, leakage performance and pipe condition whilst also being Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) approved.


The EIC launched the Industry Challenge, ‘Clean water lining solutions’, to the EIC’s Innovation Community. After receiving many responses from innovators across a variety of different backgrounds and industries, the EIC and Yorkshire Water reviewed the submitted proposals and decided on next steps. 


What did the EIC and Yorkshire Water do?


Yorkshire Water decided to host an Innovation Day, with support from the EIC, in order to explore some of the innovative solutions further and meet the innovators behind them. Yorkshire Water also invited some of their existing framework contractors to provide attendees with the opportunity to network between themselves, share their experiences of the sector, and look forward to potential collaborations. 


The day consisted of an exhibition and presentations. The exhibition segment of the day presented shortlisted innovators with the opportunity to meet different Yorkshire Water teams and discuss their innovations with them. 


Presentation slots were also allocated to each shortlisted innovator, in order to give them the chance to present their solutions to a selected panel of Yorkshire Water senior managers, and to address technical questions on how their product/service could be utilised by Yorkshire Water. 


What were the outputs of the day? 


The Innovation Day allowed Yorkshire Water to more thoroughly asses the innovation proposals presented to them and to converse openly with the innovators involved to find out more about how these may be utilised or adapted to address the specific areas of the challenge. 


The presentation sessions allowed the panel of Yorkshire Water senior managers to explore these in even further depth and make a more informed decision as to whether or not they would be able to support any of the innovations so they can be deployed as soon as possible.


What did Yorkshire Water think? 


Sam Bright, Innovation Programme Manager at Yorkshire Water, said:


'Yorkshire Water intends to increase the level of water mains lining delivered in AMP7 to help further drive down leakage and improve the resilience of the water network. The EIC supported us in launching an “Industry Challenge” in this space and it was really positive to find new solutions near market from the supply chain and Innovation Community. 


The Innovation Day approach proved popular with colleagues and the contributing companies and we have identified 3 solutions that we are supporting and others that we want to keep a close eye on as they develop. We are also currently working with other water companies to share learnings and help accelerate the adoption of the most promising solutions.' 


How did the day benefit the innovators? 


Theo Regeling, Managing Director at RPindustry-Neofit, said:


‘The Innovation Day consisted of an exhibition and presentations with senior staff at Yorkshire Water. This provided us with a great opportunity not only to meet the Yorkshire Water teams and senior staff, but also to present our lining solution - Neofit for clean water. Overall, it was a brilliant day - it was well organised and a fantastic way of sharing information.’


Dr Matthew Thornton, Head of Innovation and Site Manager at Haydale Composite Solutions Ltd, said: 


“It’s always good to have events like this and having the opportunity to meet key decision makers from Yorkshire water, face to face, certainly enhanced this. It was fantastic to not only be able to present our technology directly to Yorkshire Water, but also to engage with them, whereby they were open to ask questions outside of just what we were there for and discuss other challenges that they were facing.


It was also great to have the other companies around the room on the day, especially some of Yorkshire Water’s contractors, as we were able to  discuss ideas  around how they could potentially take and implement our product into Yorkshire Water’s facilities and sites. This engagement gave us the confidence to approach DWI approval for our product for use in drinking water and clean water applications.


Overall, the day was really well done. I think with a lot of events, you get there and it's a good event but then afterwards, nothing happens. However, with the Innovation Day there was follow up from the EIC, Yorkshire Water, and their contractors, right after the event. There were even meetings set up before we left. For us, that has been the biggest win.”


Find out more about how you could get involved with some of the challenges currently faced by our industry partners and discover our latest innovation opportunities here.


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Achieving net zero targets is one of the biggest challenges facing the energy and utilities industry, but by innovating together we can drive change and deliver a decarbonised future. Our industry partners are always looking for innovative new solutions to the challenges they face, including net zero, which is why we provide a platform where innovators like you can respond to the latest innovation opportunities and challenges, and submit your innovative ideas. Our expert team have an extensive knowledge base, allowing us to consistently help our partners to address challenges, and to support our innovation community. This enables innovators and industry to come together and build a strong innovation culture and streamline innovation processes.