SHARC deal aims to triple wastewater energy transfer for Vancouver’s False Creek

Under a new deal with SHARC International Systems Inc., an expansion is expected to increase the capacity of Vancouver’s False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility’s current 3.2 MW of wastewater energy transfer to 9.8 MW. Photo credit: SHARC International Systems Inc.

British Columbia-based SHARC International Systems Inc. says its new deal with the City of Vancouver will create the largest project in North America that recovers thermal energy from wastewater before it enters the sewer.

Recovered energy from Vancouver’s False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility (NEU) started flowing in 2010 to power the Athlete’s Village, as part of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Under the new SHARC deal, the expansion is expected to increase the capacity of the NEU’s current 3.2 megawatts (MW) of wastewater energy transfer to 9.8 MW.

The expansion will also create an additional carbon emission reduction of some 4,400 tonnes annually when the project is completed later this year.

“This project is a crucial step forward to ensure the NEU can continue to provide reliable, cost-effective, low carbon energy to the growing network of connected buildings,” announced City of Vancouver NEU manager Derek Pope, in a statement. “We are excited to be able to leverage the local innovation and expertise offered by SHARC for screening incoming sewage, a crucial step in the sewage heat recovery process,” he added.

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With the wastewater energy transfer process, all of the heat (approximately 20ºC) from the hot water used for showers, dishes, and laundry can be recovered, explains Lynn Mueller, CEO of SHARC Energy. Its equipment uses the recycled heat energy to pre-heat the water fed to a building’s hot water tank or boiler.

Since False Creek began, its energy utility has expanded to serve over 600,000 square metres of residential, commercial and institutional space, including Science World and Emily Carr University. It will now continue to expand to serve nearly two million square metres of new development in Southeast False Creek, Mount Pleasant, the False Creek Flats, and Northeast False Creek.

SHARC Energy began working with Vancouver in 2017 when it retrofitted two SHARC systems for sewage screening into the False Creek NEU as a pilot. SHARC entered a lease on these units with Vancouver, and they are now being replaced with the latest expansion of the system.

SHARC Energy also has two pilot neighbourhoods in Ottawa where it is utilizing its PIRANHA system for wastewater heat recovery.

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