Blog: Heat from Waste Water - Nikki Brown

26 July 2019
Nikki Brown Horizons

Low-carbon Energy

Nikki Brown, Project Manager at Scottish Water Horizons, talks about all things heat from sewage and what she's learned about this since joining the team last year

“Although the concept is still relatively new to the market, the potential benefits are huge”

Nikki Brown
Project Manager Scottish Water Horizons

The world of low-carbon energy was completely new to me when I first joined Scottish Water Horizons, but the challenge of leaping into the unknown and learning something new really appealed to me.

I came from Scottish Water’s Project Vesting team last year to project manage Horizon’s heat from waste water projects, something that I was really interested in learning more about.

From my previous experience, I knew lots about sewers and the vesting process, but hadn’t considered that the waste water that runs through our network could be used to generate green energy.

With a huge focus on low-carbon energy from the Scottish Government and increased carbon targets within private, commercial and local authority organisations, the pressure is on for the whole country to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint.

So how does heat from waste water work? Put simply, we extract the naturally occurring heat found in waste water (ranging from 15 – 21 degrees) and use a heat exchanger to transfer this heat to the clean water network using a closed loop. A heat pump then increases the temperature of the clean water, which in turn provides heating and hot water to buildings.

Although the concept is still relatively new to the market, the potential benefits are huge. Compared to traditional heating methods like gas, using a heat from waste water system can have huge carbon savings – which is great news for the environment. It will also help Scotland become more sustainable and green, looking after our future.

Our first ever project, and the first of its kind in the UK, was commissioned in Borders College, Galashiels in 2016. And, although not without challenges, there are three more projects nearing completion at Clyde Gateway in Glasgow, Aqualibrium Leisure Centre in Campbeltown and as part of a district heat network in Stirling.

Since joining the team, I’ve really enjoyed learning more about Scottish Water Horizons and the pivotal role that it plays in supporting sustainable growth, both in Scotland and further afield.

My goal for my role is to deliver as many heat recovery projects as possible, especially whilst we have the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) to assist with project delivery.  I want to utilise the potential of our waste water network to help reduce tonnes of carbon emissions and create a greener environment for Scotland.

If you’d like to learn more about heat from waste water, or have ideas about potential new projects, I’d love to hear from you. Click here to drop me an email!