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Scotland's Energy Minister Fergus Ewing launching the UK's first heat from sewage scheme in the Scottish Borders

Heat from sewage scheme warms Scottish students

Energy from waste water is being used to heat up a college campus in Scotland in the UK’s first heat-from-sewage scheme.

The renewable energy scheme, launched on Tuesday 8 December 2015 by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, uses water from a local sewer and amplifies its natural warmth using a heat pump to supply the Scottish Borders Campus with heat.

The technology covers about 95 per cent of the needs of the campus. Under a contract with Scottish Water, the Scottish Borders Campus will be receiving the renewable heat for the next 20 years.

The project, supported by investment from Equitix and the UK Green Investment Bank, enables the campus to cut its energy bill as well as reduce the overall carbon footprint.

“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,” said Alan Scott, Scottish Water’s Finance Director.

“Scottish Water Horizons is delighted to have played a leading role in turning this initiative into reality. 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.”

The technology was developed by Canada-based sewage heat-recovery expert SHARC Energy Systems. The system utilises unique clog-proof raw sewage filtration and heat exchange technology that conducts the heat from untreated waste water.

According to Energy Minister Ewing, heating makes up a half of Scotland’s energy consumption and generates almost half of the country’s 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,” Ewing said.

“Recycling heat from local waste water can deliver financial, energy and emission savings to the campus while assisting to further develop our low-carbon economy and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Vice Principal of Borders College Pete Smith said the school considered other approaches to reduce its carbon footprint, including biomass and large-scale district heating.

“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,” Smith said. “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.”

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