How one leisure centre’s swimming pool will create heat from wastewater

In the first project to be delivered by a new joint venture between Scottish Water Horizons and East Midlands-based 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 and Bute Council, and the £1m 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 wastewater 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 25m 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 on 20th March and aims to expand and accelerate wastewater heat recovery systems across the country.

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

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.”

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 wastewater 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 and Bute Council meet their carbon reduction targets and lower their heat costs.

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

Councillor Rory Colville, Policy Lead for Corporate Services at Argyll and Bute Council, said: “I would like to congratulate all involved in this innovative approach which will reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. It brings benefits for the Aqualibrium and more widely the environment we all rely upon, and I look forward to further examples of similar partnership working in the future.”

Commenting on the project, Fabrice Leveque, Senior Policy Manager with Scottish Renewables, said: “The Scottish Government’s new Energy Strategy contains the ambitious target that half of all energy – for heat, transport and electricity – will come from renewable sources by 2030.

“To meet that target it’s crucial that we accelerate the decarbonisation of our heat sector, which makes up half of all the energy used in Scotland.

“This exciting joint venture will deliver sustainable heat from sewage projects across Scotland, using innovative heat pump systems to generate clean energy and reduce harmful carbon emissions.

“Projects like this are at the forefront of low-carbon innovation and will play an increasingly important role as we transition to a new low-carbon heat future.”

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, said: “I warmly welcome the announcement of the Heat Supply Agreement between Scottish Water Horizons, SHARC Energy Systems and Argyll and Bute Council, paving the way for the provision of low-carbon heat to Campbeltown’s Aqualibrium Leisure Centre.

“This project, supported by the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Innovation Transition Programme, will demonstrate innovative heat-from-wastewater technology and has the potential to reduce carbon emissions and demonstrate how we might deliver energy bill savings more widely if replicated throughout Scotland.”

He added: “The Scottish Government will continue to support the development and delivery of innovative low-carbon energy solutions, as we work towards our ambitious target for 50% of Scotland’s total energy requirements to be supplied by renewable sources by 2030.”

This expansion of the heat-from-wastewater 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 wastewater system and key infrastructure upgrade in the town

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