The UK’s first heat-from-sewage scheme was launched at Borders College in the Scottish Borders on 8 December.
Backed by investment from Equitix and the UK Green Investment Bank, the SHARC heat recovery system intercepts waste water from a sewer close to the local treatment works operated by Scottish Water.
The system uses a heat pump to amplify the natural warmth of waste water and the heat produced is being sold to Borders College under a 20-year purchase agreement, producing savings in energy, costs and carbon emissions.
The system now provides around 95% of the heat needed by the Galashiels campus and does not impact on the normal operation of the local waste water network.
Russ Burton, CEO of SHARC Energy Systems, said: “We are delighted to see the first UK installation of the SHARC system up and running at Borders College. This has been an extremely important project for us in the UK and Europe, and we have seen a lot of interest in the system elsewhere.”
Scottish Water Horizons, a subsidiary of the public utility, which supports the development of a sustainable economy in Scotland, has played a key role in turning the project into reality.
Renewable heat has a strong role to play
Scotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, who attended the launch, said: “Heat is estimated to account for over half of Scotland’s total energy use and is responsible for nearly half of our greenhouse gas emissions.
“The move towards low carbon and renewable heat offers enormous potential to boost Scotland’s economic growth while providing affordable warmth by exploiting the opportunity for more productive use of energy for heating and cooling from a range of sources.
Pete Smith, Vice Principal – Finance and Resources, at Borders College, said: “This solution goes a long way to meeting our own carbon-reduction targets, while offering long-term price certainty and offering a good degree of local control. It’s fantastic that we are now at the stage of ‘going-live’ and we look forward to a continuing long-term partnership with the SHARC Team.”
Launched in June 2014, SHARC Energy Systems is a UK organisation specialising in sewage heat recovery technology that is a sustainable alternative energy source. Said to be unique in the UK and Europe, the system generates energy-saving, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions for heating, cooling and hot water for commercial and residential buildings.
It was announced in June 2015 that SHARC Energy Systems had secured a £4million investment from Equitix and the UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) to finance the installation of the SHARC sewage heat recovery system under heat purchase agreements.
The Equitix managed fund Energy Saving Investments (ESI), in which GIB is a cornerstone investor, is investing £2m in the programme and an additional £2m of private sector capital has been mobilised from the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF).
This is being used to support the first project at Borders College and a pipeline of others being developed across Scotland.