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UK’s first heat from sewage scheme launched at Borders College

Sewage is now being used to power a heating system at the Scottish Borders Campus in the Scottish Borders.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has launched the UK’s first SHARC energy recovery system at the campus in Galashiels.

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, according to the company.

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: “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."

He continued, “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."He also stated, “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."

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Energy efficiency  •  Policy, investment and markets