Scottish Water Horizons

Innovative leisure centre heat project to make a splash

The Aqualibrium in Argyll and Bute

A swimming pool in Argyll & Bute is at the forefront of a renewable energy revolution which creates heat from waste water.

In the first project to be delivered by a new joint venture between Scottish Water Horizons and SHARC Energy Systems and one of the first of its kind in the UK, Campbeltown’s Aqualibrium leisure centre will be heated by the use of ground-breaking technology which places a focus on sustainability.

The centre and swimming pool is operated by Argyll & Bute Council and the £1 million project will meet 95% of the facility’s heating needs and use just 25% of the energy it currently takes to heat it with gas.

The state of the art installation will intercept waste water from Scottish Water’s adjacent Kinloch Park Pumping Station. The technology will extract the naturally occurring residual heat, amplify it and transfer it to the clean water network to provide heating to the leisure centre.

The new heat recovery system will be integrated into the council’s existing heating infrastructure.

The low-carbon, sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy system will heat the 25-metre swimming pool, fitness suite, steam room, sauna and library in the centre.

Expected to be completed by November, Aqualibrium is the first project to be delivered by the new joint venture between Scottish Water Horizons, a subsidiary of Scottish Water, and sustainable energy firm SHARC Energy Systems. The joint venture was announced last month and aims to expand and accelerate waste water heat recovery systems across the country.

A short film explaining the technology

The Campbeltown project is being funded by Scottish Water Horizons and the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP).

Donald MacBrayne, Scottish Water Horizons business development manager, said: “We are actively exploring ways in which we can utilise Scottish Water assets to facilitate green technology and through the joint venture with SHARC Energy Systems delivering heat from waste water systems and the fantastic low-carbon benefits which are generated.

“We are thrilled that after months of hard work and the launch of the joint venture we are able to bring the Campbeltown project to life. Once complete, the Aqualibrium Centre will benefit from significant carbon savings, helping Argyll & Bute Council meet their carbon reduction targets and lower their heat costs.

“Every day Scottish Water treats 945 million litres of waste water. It’s a valuable resource that we can tap into to support Scottish Government in their ambitious decarbonisation targets.”

Russ Burton, chief operating officer of SHARC Energy Systems, said: “The Aqualibrium project is a significant step for the joint venture and SHARC, demonstrating how our technology provides a real, sustainable and renewable alternative heat service to customers in rural communities as well as urban centres.

“We have long thought that leisure centres are a great opportunity for SHARC and heat pump technology and we look forward to working with Argyll and Bute council to make this scheme as successful as our first installation at Borders College in Galashiels.”

This expansion of the heat from waste water programme comes three years after the successful delivery of the UK’s inaugural Sewage Heat Recovery system at Borders College in Galashiels. The award-winning project was developed and installed by SHARC and facilitated by Scottish Water Horizons.

The work also builds on Scottish Water’s £23m environmental improvement scheme in Campbeltown in 2012, which delivered a state-of-the-art waste water system and key infrastructure upgrade in the town.

SHARC Energy Systems and Scottish Water Horizons launch joint venture to support sewage heat recovery

(from left) Paul Kerr – Scottish Water Horizons, Alan P Scott – Scottish Water, Russ Burton – SHARC Energy Systems

SHARC Energy Systems has joined forces with Scottish Water Horizons to establish a joint venture which will enable them to expand and accelerate the deployment of wastewater heat recovery systems across Scotland.

Known as Bandwidth Energy Ltd, the joint venture has been set up to manage the installation and maintenance of a number of key green energy projects which are currently in the advanced stages of planning.

Scottish Water Horizons will provide commercial funding for the projects, with SHARC Energy providing the design, build and operational expertise for the green energy installations.

The Scottish Government is supporting the schemes by providing 50% grant capital support through its LCITP (Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme).

The new alliance will support the Scottish Government’s ambitious renewable heat and carbon reduction targets for 2020. It is the result of three years of informal collaboration between SHARC and Scottish Water Horizons, which has created a £20 million pipeline of potential installations across Scotland that, when deployed, would generate 170 GWHs per year of heating and cooling to displace the fossil fuel currently used.

The expansion of heat from wastewater programme follow the launch of the UK’s first Sewage Heat Recovery system, developed and installed by SHARC and facilitated by Scottish Water Horizons, at Borders College in Galashiels, which aims to displace 1.8 GWhs (Giga Watt hours) of natural gas and save over 150 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

The system provides heating and cooling to customers through a heat supply agreement. This works much like that of any energy supplier, but the main difference is that customers have no up-front costs.

Included in the heat supply agreement are the costs of design, installation, servicing and maintenance and the supply of equipment.

The innovative SHARC system, which has been deployed in numerous international locations, intercepts wastewater from sewers and uses heat pump technology to amplify the natural warmth of wastewater.

This generates an energy-saving, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly system for heating, cooling and hot water production in commercial and residential buildings.

Russ Burton, SHARC’s chief operating officer, said: “This announcement is a very exciting step for SHARC and represents the culmination of three years of very productive working with Scottish Water Horizons to identify opportunities for the SHARC technology.

“Having the support from Scottish Water Horizons will give customers confidence in the SHARC technology, positioning it as a sustainable and viable wastewater heat recovery solution.

“With gas prices constantly fluctuating, our heat supply agreement gives cost certainty by guaranteeing the price for the length of the agreement.”

Paul Kerr, managing director, Scottish Water Horizons, said: “Heat accounts for over 50 per cent of Scotland’s total energy use, so by forming this alliance to deploy further heat from waste water schemes, we can help further develop Scotland’s low carbon economy.

“Our alliance with SHARC provides us with a unique and exciting opportunity to maximise the residual heat that runs through some of Scottish Water’s 32,000 miles of sewer pipes.  Using this innovative technology we are able to roll out a sustainable, low-carbon heating solution to our customers, whilst enhancing and protecting the environment.”

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.”