Scottish Water Horizons

New funding to explore pioneering heat solution for rural Stirling

leaflet_photos_018Stirling Council, alongside partner Scottish Water Horizons, has been awarded £100,000 to explore a pioneering heat solution for rural Stirling, with initial feasibility being carried out in Callander.

The first study of its kind in the UK, the project will investigate how waste heat extracted from the Callander Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) can be incorporated with thermal energy storage and distributed to remote and off-gas grid areas, combating rural energy and fuel poverty issues, such as a lack of fuel choice and higher energy costs.

Benefits will include energy demand reduction; energy savings; added resilience and security of heat supply, and possible income generation through opportunities for community ownership models.

There could also be opportunities for job creation and upskilling of local workers in low carbon and renewables. If successful, the project would be scalable and replicable across the Stirling Council area.

The joint application, known as the Callander Local Energy Opportunity (CLEO), is receiving funding from the Scottish Government’s Innovative Local Energy Systems (ILES) initiative. Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, this initiative is designed to accelerate the development and delivery of low-carbon infrastructure projects in smaller towns and settlements as well as remote, rural and off-gas grid communities.

Councillor Evelyn Tweed said: “Stirling Council has a large rural area, the majority of which show higher levels of fuel poverty than urban areas, due to lack of fuel choice as many are off gas grid.

“The higher capacity of the Waste Water Treatment Works in Callander and size of the population made the region an ideal choice for the pilot scheme.

“With council assets, including secondary and primary schools, plus a leisure centre, Callander can provide a successful concept project that would then be scalable and replicable across the area, to help alleviate fuel poverty and also to attract businesses to the area.

“This funding can help produce regeneration and economic development through reduced energy bills, as higher energy bills can be prohibitive to businesses setting up in rural areas.”

Scottish Water Horizons, a wholly owned subsidiary of the public utility Scottish Water, which is driving forward the organisation’s green agenda, is already enabling heat to be extracted from sewer networks to provide an alternative and affordable energy source.

Mari Davies, Scottish Water Horizons project manager, said “We are delighted to receive funding to enable us to look at new ways of storing and delivering heat in the Callander area.

“Within our sewer network there is massive potential for heat to be harnessed as renewable energy source. The challenge for us now is how we store this heat and get it to local homes and businesses that need it most.

“Using thermal energy storage in combination with innovative waste water heat extraction technology, we can test the concept in an area that is typical of many rural and remote areas across Scotland.  If successful, there is opportunity for wider roll-out, helping to alleviating fuel poverty, providing local employment and contributing to Scotland’s circular economy.”

Hidden heat in sewers ‘could warm Glasgow through winter’

Glasgow sewersScotland’s sewers contain enough natural and discarded heat to warm a city the size of Glasgow for more than four months a year, according to a new report.

Figures produced by Scottish Water Horizons for renewable energy group Scottish Renewables, have revealed that 921 million litres of wastewater and sewage – enough to fill 360 Olympic swimming pools – are flushed down Scots toilets and plugholes every day.

According to the analysis, capturing the warmth contained in it could prevent more than 10,000 tonnes of harmful CO2 entering the atmosphere every year.

Water in UK sewers can be as warm as 21c, and maintains a constant temperature throughout the year.

The report shows how renewable energy technologies like heat pumps and wastewater recovery systems could be used to harness that energy potential.

Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “These new figures show the enormous scale of the energy we are literally flushing away every day.

“Water which is used in homes and businesses collects heat from the air around it, as in a toilet cistern, or is heated, as in dishwashers and showers. That’s in addition to the energy that it gains from the sun when stored in reservoirs.

“Technology now exists which allows us to capture that energy, and waste heat can play an important role in helping us reach our challenging climate change targets.”

Scotland’s daily 921 million litres of wastewater and sewage are transmitted through more than 31,000 miles of sewers to over 1,800 wastewater treatment facilities.

Donald MacBrayne, business development manager with Scottish Water Horizons, said: “Water that is flushed down the drain from homes and businesses represents a significant source of thermal energy.

“Usually, this heat is lost during the treatment process and when treated effluent is returned to the environment. By tapping into this resource using heat recovery technology we can provide a sustainable heating solution which brings both cost, carbon and wider environmental benefits.

“With almost 32,000 miles of sewers pipes across Scotland and more than 900 million litres of waste water treated every day, the opportunities presented by heat recovery are significant. We are now using heat maps to actively explore locations where such heat recovery schemes could be developed and are working with a number of public bodies and commercial businesses to progress the opportunity.”

The Scottish Government’s draft Energy Strategy contains a proposal first suggested by Scottish Renewables: that 50% of all energy (heat, electricity and transport) should come from renewable sources by 2030.

Scottish Renewables policy manager Stephanie Clark, added: “More than half of the energy consumed in Scotland is in the form of heat.

“As a society, we take warm homes and workplaces and constant hot water for granted, but it’s vital we reduce the amount of carbon emitted by the sector if we’re to tackle climate change and meet existing and proposed targets.”