Scots college heats campus by with sewage power scheme

Russ Burton, CEO of SHARC Energy Systems in the new plant with energy minister Fergus Ewing. Photo: Rob Gray
Russ Burton, CEO of SHARC Energy Systems in the new plant with energy minister Fergus Ewing. Photo: Rob Gray
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The UK’s first ever heat from sewage scheme is being launched in the Borders.

The Scottish Borders Campus is the first place in the UK to sign up for it.

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 per cent 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.

Alan Scott, Scottish Water’s Finance Director, said: “Every day, Scottish Water provides customers with a massive 1.34 billion litres of drinking water, before collecting and treating 847 million litres of waste water. From industrial use to tourism, renewable energy and heating systems, Scotland’s vast water resources offer tremendous opportunities for added economic benefit.

“The UK’s first sewage to heat scheme in Galashiels is an excellent example of how water resources can be harnessed and maximised, furthering the development of Scotland’s low carbon economy.

“With 32,000 miles of sewer pipes throughout Scotland, we’re exploring the potential for this approach to be replicated at other locations, offering further environmental and heating cost benefits.

“This initiative builds on our work to use Scotland’s water resources to help generate renewable energy, through the likes of hydro power schemes, helping to reduce costs and build an increasingly sustainable Scotland.”

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing 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, said that SHARC was the front runner in all renewable heating options.

“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.”