MANCHESTER, England, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Two young research scientists are at the cutting edge of experimental technologies which could help save the planet. The work of North West-based Ian Carline and Ruyi Hu has the potential to cut thousands of tons of carbon emissions and save GBP millions.

But details of the research projects the two are involved with can be a dinner party conversation stopper....the focus of their work is the billion litres of wastewater generated by the region each year.

The two scientists are part of the Research and Development team of the region's water and wastewater giant, United Utilities. In-depth details of Ian's and Ruyi's research may not be for the more squeamish, but both projects offer the possibility of major environmental benefits and could help cut water bills.

Ian is involved in a new way of eliminating harmful micro-organisms from sewage sludge, potentially reducing energy consumption over today's methods by up to 75% and eliminating 2,000t of C02 emissions each year. Although currently only a laboratory demonstration, the Carbon Trust has been impressed enough with the possibilities of the technology to provide a grant of GBP109k to further its development.

Ruyi is working at making big reductions in the amount of chemicals used in sewage treatment. His innovative method has the additional benefit of producing methane gas which could be converted to electricity to help run United Utilities' plants.

Each year, UU dedicates around GBP1.5m to research and development projects looking at the impacts of climate change...

We have high hopes of each of the projects Ruyi and Ian are involved with, but although exciting progress is being made, it could be years before either of these experimental technologies could realistically be ready to be introduced into our operation, said Chris Matthews, Head of Environment and Sustainability.

Even so, Research and Development is taken very seriously here - it will have a crucial role to play in our bid to beat climate change.

Ruyi, aged 24, who currently lives in Chester gained a degree in pharmaceutical engineering in his native China, then a Masters in the same subject at Loughborough University before joining United Utilities in 2007. Ian studied Environmental Chemistry at UWE prior to joining UU and has worked on several RD projects looking at optimising wastewater treatment. . Ian has vast experience in pilot plant design, construction and operation in all areas of wastewater treatment.

Note to Editors: It's no accident that the research work of Ruyi and Ian is focused on sewage treatment as exploiting the benefits of 'Poo Power' is a key facet of United Utilities bid to cut its carbon footprint. Around GBP22million is being spent on the creation of Combined Heat and Power engines that harvest the methane gas given off by sewage sludge. Not only can such plants provide the heat for treatment processes and the electricity to run the works, they do it by using up methane which is 23 times more damaging to the atmosphere than C02. Treated sewage sludge, or biosolids, are also being used as soil improvers.

You can see more details of the work of Ian and Ruyi by going to and clicking on GRAVITOX and INVERTED PHASE FERMENTATION

Contact: Shaun Robinson, UU 24/7 Press Office: +44(0)1925-237088