Wastewater to the Rescue

Imagine, if you will, a world in which waste water – yes, the stuff you drain out of your sink, shower, dishwasher and toilet – could provide you with the energy you need to power your home. It sounds like a line from The Twilight Zone, except for the fact that it’s real.

Enter SHARC, a Coquitlam-based company that is changing the way buildings around the world are utilizing what, until now, was considered wastewater. Reusing grey water, which is water from everywhere but the toilet, is one thing; repurposing all wastewater is another.

In North America, four hundred billion kilowatts of energy a day goes down the drain. That works out to about $1,000 a year per household in just hot water. The average temperature of the collective wastewater from a home, around the world, is 23 degrees Celsius. The impediment to using all of the wastewater is solid waste: if only it could be cleaned, then the water would be usable as an energy source.

Now it can and, once clean, the water can be used in a series of heat exchangers, concentrated and then used to supply energy to heat houses. Once the cycle starts, the laws of thermodynamics kick in and the same energy gets used and reused.

We invited Lynn Mueller of SHARC Energy Systems to join us for a Conversation That Matters about how wastewater helps reduce our carbon footprint, reduces the massive volume of warm water that spills back into oceans and saves consumers money.


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Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue presents Conversations That Matter. Join veteran Broadcaster Stuart McNish each week for an important and engaging Conversation about the issues shaping our future

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