An innovative Cumbrian company that specialises in energy efficient water treatment technology has secured investment from a Saudi Arabian backer.

Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV), the corporate venturing subsidiary of Aramco, the world’s largest integrated energy company, has taken a significant shareholding in Penrith-based Typhon Treatment Systems.

The fledgling company – which recently secured a major contract with United Utilities – said SAEV’s undisclosed investment would help accelerate its growth.

SAEV said Typhon’s innovative technology had the potential to bring “substantial” economic and environmental benefits to the global water industry, as one of the first systems in the world capable of using UV from LEDs to neutralise harmful micro-organisms on an industrial scale.

The use of LEDs means low energy consumption and no use of chemicals, bringing down the lifetime cost of ownership and improved environmental and health and safety benefits, compared to mercury-based UV systems or chlorination systems.

Typhon is currently making inroads into the UK utilities market and is expected to expand its customer base significantly in the coming months backed by SAEV’s investment.

Its chief executive, Peter McNulty, said: “Typhon is excited to have SAEV become a significant shareholder. This investment enables us to accelerate our growth and technology development plans.”

SAEV focuses its investments in early-stage and high growth companies with technologies of strategic importance to Aramco, which has significant interests in oil and gas, petrochemicals, renewables, energy efficiency and the water sectors.

Richard Riggs, of SAEV Europe, said: “We see Typhon’s technology as having the potential to provide substantial benefits to the global water industry - both environmental and economic, and we look forward to seeing the technology being used globally and in Saudi Arabia.

“We are proud to include Typhon and its team as members of the SAEV portfolio”.

The investment comes during a busy period for Typhon, which was named in in-Cumbria’s Hot 100 list published in April.

Last month it secured a long-term contract with United Utilities following a successful operational trial of its LED UV reactor at North West utility’s Cumwhinton Water Treatment Works.

Typhon started out with support through two modest grants through the Innovus UK project – which helped small business commercialise their innovative products.

Its project lead – now head of research, development and innovation at Nuvia – Adrian Davis Johnston – said: “When Innovus was established, there was a great deal of scepticism that Cumbria would not have sufficiently innovative or technology driven businesses to make it a success. “However, over four years of hard work, I managed to find some absolute gems of technological innovation in Cumbrian businesses and for me, Typhon Treatment were the diamond on top of the crown.

“Innovus made two modest investments in Typhon – one to prove the basic science behind UV sterilisation and another to build a fully functional pre-production prototype. These were the kickstart behind the company. Matt and Peter have forged, through hard work and a great idea, a truly inspiring business that has all the hallmarks of a truly disruptive innovative enterprise.

“Those doubters and sceptics have been proven wrong – Cumbrian’s can innovate and Typhon have every opportunity to change the world.”