SHARC International Systems Inc. (CSE:SHRC) is a Canadian cleantech company that extracts heat from wastewater
Vasudha Sharma | July 18, 2018 | SmallCapPower: It’s abundant. It is right under our homes and offices. And it is green! Wastewater is a goldmine of renewable energy that once generated never extinguishes. SHARC International Systems Inc. (CSE:SHRC) has pioneered a wastewater energy recycling technology with a mission to reduce global emissions and cut energy costs.
Now more than ever, there is a determined international effort to decarbonize the energy framework of the planet. The goal of a carbon-neutral world by the end of this century as set under the 2015 Paris Accord is catalyzing a global shift towards sustainable energy sources.
The increasing level of climate-change related natural disasters along with elevated air pollution in big cities is driving countries to speed up action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
This concerted effort is, in turn, fueling a cleantech revolution in the private sector. Electric vehicles, solar farms and wind turbines are emerging as energy alternatives. But one company is repurposing the constant and inexhaustible supply of wastewater in our lives.
Renewable Heat Recovery System
Canadian renewable energy company SHARC International Systems has developed a patented technology to capture heat from the wastewater that flows down our drains every day. This is the largest source of waste in our lives, and SHARC possesses the cutting-edge solution of extracting thermal energy from wastewater. SHARC’s systems provide sustainable and cost-effective space conditioning (HVAC hot and cold air conditioning) and water heating.
The Company estimates that in North America and the European Union alone, over 330 billion litres of wastewater escapes through the sewer systems each day. This wastewater has the potential to replace 1.5 billion MWh of natural gas consumption that countries use to heat commercial, residential and industrial spaces and provide hot water.
“Around the globe one third of the energy used in buildings is through heated water, which is wasted down our drains. This is a huge economic opportunity. For SHARC, this heated wastewater is an inexhaustible resource that we harvest,” states Lynn Mueller, the CEO and Founder of SHARC International Systems.
Mr. Mueller had an eye-opening moment one day when he observed the large amount of hot water his growing family was using every day. A pioneer of many geothermal technologies during his 25-year career, Mr. Mueller began envisioning a way to recycle all that wasted energy. He wanted to contribute to a sustainable future for his grandchildren. And thus, came about SHARC.
“This waste heat recovery technology provides cost optimization for any heating, air conditioning or hot-water load. And SHARC doesn’t have to rely upon government legislation to mandate the adoption of this technology. SHARC stands on its own in economic terms, while it also offers one of the greatest opportunities in the world to reduce carbon emissions,” explains Mr. Mueller.
Wastewater: A Source of Heating and Air Conditioning
The Company has commercialized and patented three heat-recovery technologies. For district level heating and cooling needs, the SHARC™ offering is deployed. For individual buildings they use the PIRANHA™ system. And for single family homes, they are testing out the MAKO™.
Wastewater leaving a facility is channeled into an onsite tank from where it is pumped into the SHARC™ or PIRANHA™. The technology can also connect to a city’s sewer mains. The next step is to filter this water, macerating and separating the solids from it. The result is energy-rich water, which has been sufficiently cleaned to be sent to a heat-exchanger without concerns of clogging.
Warm water is then passed through the heat exchanger, which transfers thermal energy from the contaminated water to a process loop. The SHARC™ and PIRANHA™ can heat incoming water and provide space conditioning at a high efficiency rate of 400% to 600%. Once the energy is pulled from the dirty water, the now cold wastewater joins the separated solids and is released into the sewer system.
SHARC™ can be used in hydronic heating loops to supply space heating. And it can also be used for cooling systems where the technology operates in reverse and thermal energy is dumped into the sewage water. This is a great alternative to air conditioning cooling towers as the SHARC™ can not only reduce energy costs but also water consumption.
Thermal Energy Leaders with a Swift Payback?
According to Mr. Mueller, SHARC’s technology is unlike any other. “There are no other alternatives available on the market which can compare or compete with SHARC Energy Systems. The units from SHARC™, PIRANHA™ and MAKO™ can recycle wasted warm water energy from individual households to industrial and apartment buildings and ultimately the sewer systems. This covers all facets of wasted warm water in a city. Cities are able to save the environment with reduced energy usage and save money,” he adds.
The Company estimates that for a residential building with 200 or more units, the payback period is approximately three years. “But it can be faster in other circumstances,” says Mr. Mueller. “At a private hospital in one case that has high-cost electric water heaters, the installation of a SHARC™ system saved them enough money to pay the full cost in less than one year,” he adds.
SHARC Energy’s Vision 2020
The Company has set itself a goal to reduce carbon emissions by one million tonnes by 2020. This ties in well with many global economies that are targeting 2020 for the first set of emission cuts. SHARC is confident of the role it can play in reducing global emissions and cutting down the current and future energy costs of its clients.
“More and more cities and regions are making it mandatory for developers to use LEED certified technologies such as SHARC™. This includes a recent ruling in Vancouver. And we continue to see many more cities around the globe who are racing to become the greenest city. The SHARC™ system offers a significant piece of this sustainability solution puzzle,” says Mr. Mueller.
Since 2010, when it developed the technology, SHARC International Systems has expanded its presence from Canada to the United States, the European Union and Australia. Across these markets, it has 20 active installations. “SHARC is gaining significant momentum in Scotland and California in particular. These two markets alone could carry SHARC’s valuation into the hundreds of millions of dollars,” shares the CEO and Founder.
Scotland is leading a large-scale energy decarbonization effort with a goal of turning power supply 100% green by 2020. At their ambitious Clyde Gateway project, which is imagined as a new city centre and a hybrid industrial hub, SHARC will be supplying energy through its wastewater heat recycling technology. This partnership provides the Company with recurring revenues over a 20-year period.
With many more projects in the pipeline, SHARC has guided for its revenues to reach $20 million over the next two years. The Company recently received three awards at the prestigious Water’s Next Award program that acknowledges companies making a positive change to water in Canada.
As more governments, investors and businesses mandate a shift towards sustainable and clean energy, SHARC is certain that it will be at the forefront of this transition as a compelling investment story.
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