Wasted energy flows into the environment all over the world, and an immense 247 trillion gallons of wastewater heated to an average temperature of 60.8 F contributes to warming local waterways and the oceans. We could recapture the heat energy for other uses before returning water to rivers, lakes, and oceans. The process of harvesting that lost energy is known as wastewater energy transfer, or WET. Our guest, Lynn Mueller, CEO of Vancouver, BC-based SHARC Energy Systems, is a pioneer of WET technology. SHARC has installed its system in Vancouver to serve 6.4 million square feet of home, office, hospital, and educational space. Among other projects, SHARC is working to blend its WET technology with geothermal sources of energy to provide renewable heating and cooling energy, along with hot water to residents of a 316-unit affordable housing project in the Bronx section of New York City.
A study by King County, Washington, found that reusing heat captured by WET systems reduced the carbon footprint of an office building by 34% and the footprint of a mixed-use buildings by 71%. WET technology is installed to allow warm sewage to pass through a thermal exchange system that captures the heat energy and transfers it for use generating electricity, warming water and building interiors. Once cooled, the sewage continues to a water treatment plant — where the sludge extracted can be converted into biofuels — and is reintroduced into the environment without contributing to thermal forcing of river and ocean temperatures. These systems are efficient: WET energy costs 20% as much as generating the same amount of energy from other sources. You can learn more about SHARC Energy Systems WET technology at sharcenergy.com.