Energy minister Fergus Ewing visited Borders College today to launch the UK’s first energy system that uses sewage to power the heating.
The system, created by SHARC Energy Systems, uses a heat pump to harness and amplify the residual heat in waste water intercepted from a sewer by the Scottish Water treatment works in Galashiels.
MSP Ewing said: “This is a great step forward to addressing our energy usage, most of the energy that we consume is in the form of heat, 55 percent.
“Most forms of heat are generated by fossil fuels and it is essential that we find other more economic means of generating heat, which this does.
“This is a very significant achievement; an important day for Scotland and for the Borders College, for Shark, for Scottish Water.
“I wish you well for many more projects of this type and I do hope we can discuss what those projects may be across Scotland.”
The SHARC system was backed and supported financially by Scottish Water, UK Green Investment Bank and Equitex and couldn’t have happened without their contributions.
Alan Scott the finance director of Scottish Water said: “Scotland produces an awful lot of sewage, around 850,000,000 litres per day and Scottish Water has 32,000 miles of sewage pipes so we’ve tried to create value from that.
“One of the ways was getting together with Borders College and SHARC and using this innovative technology, a first for the UK.
“The benefits of it are quite clear: there are financial benefits for the college, and for Scottish Water and it’s customers, there are carbon benefits and less energy being used in the production of heat.
“This is a great project and we’re looking forward to producing others like it right across the network.”
The college has entered into a 20 year purchase agreement for their heat, producing significant savings in cost, energy and carbon emissions.
There is a purpose built central energy centre with a 500 metre heat network supplying five plant rooms.
The new system has replaced the old traditional gas heating.