From education to employment

Borders College shares energy innovation with Northern Ireland delegates

Visiting delegates are pictured with (front, left to right) Joe Short (SHARC Energy Systems), Donald MacBrayne (Scottish Water Horizons), Robert Hewitt (Borders College) and Sharon Cousins (Invest Northern Ireland)

@BordersCollege recently had the opportunity to showcase its successful waste water heating system to delegates from Northern Ireland, who visited the SHARC Energy centre to learn more about its implementation and the benefits the system has brought the College to date.

Led by Sharon Cousins (Client Executive, Invest Northern Ireland), delegates from regional business development agency Invest Northern Ireland and representatives from a number of Northern Ireland energy sector companies (including Cleanfields, Senergy and Nitronica), as well as Ulster University, heard from Robert Hewitt (Facilities Manager, Borders College), Joe Short (SHARC Energy Systems) and Donald MacBrayne (Business Development Manager, Scottish Water Horizons).

Presenting a detailed insight into the College’s waste water heating system (the first of its kind in the UK) Robert, Joe and Donald explained how the system extracts residual heat from waste water in the sewage system, converting it into reusable energy which is capable of providing 95% of the heat needed for the College’s campus in Galashiels.

The project (funded by Equitix and the UK Green Investment Bank plc), which launched in December 2015, has helped the College to significantly cut down campus heating costs in line with its Carbon Management Plan.

It also successfully scooped two national industry awards towards the end of last year:

  1. Best Newcomer at the Green Gown Awards 2017, and
  2. Best Innovation Award at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2017

Speaking of how Borders College made the decision to embark upon the pioneering project, Robert explained:

“We had previously evaluated other options, including Biomass and a District Heating Scheme, but neither of these was the right fit for Borders College for a variety of reasons. This led us towards working with SHARC.”

Robert added that the College now benefits from a 20 year stable heat supply price, and there are plans underway for a second phase of development to further improve efficiencies and reduce maintenance requirements.

Scottish Water Horizons’ network user agreement with SHARC Energy Systems allows them access to all of Scotland’s sewer systems, enabling them to develop other systems of this kind elsewhere in Scotland. The attending delegates were all interested in how this partnership could be replicated in Northern Ireland, with a view to potentially implementing such a system there.

Following an intensive questions and answers session, the group visited the SHARC centre on campus before enjoying a business lunch and opportunity to further discuss the system’s potential for their own respective organisations.

Related Articles