Discover more from 4Thoughts
SHARC International Systems Inc (SHRC:CSE)
From Drain to Gain – The Benefits of Wastewater Energy Recovery
SHARC Energy is a publicly traded energy technology company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. The company’s shares trades under the ticker SHRC on the Canadian Securities Exchange and currently has a market cap of approximately $30M. With recent wins announced including both the current largest district energy wastewater energy recovery system in Denver and the soon to be the largest Wastewater Energy Transfer (WET) project in North America in Vancouver via the False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility, SHARC is poised for significant growth in 2023.
In its simplest terms, SHARC’s technology captures waste heat carried in wastewater from buildings typically lost to the sewer system. With SHARC’s process, the heat in the wastewater is transferred back into the inlet clean water supply, allowing it to enter buildings at a higher temperature, and thus requiring less energy to heat for use.
A quick summary video of SHARC’s process can be found here:
We will delve into SHARC Energy over several posts, providing readers with greater insight into the company’s strategy, market, opportunities and catalysts to watch for.
Dirty Water, Clean Energy: A Technical Primer on Wastewater Heat Recovery
The concept of recovering thermal energy from wastewater is relatively easy to grasp, yet does not seem to get the publicity as other technologies as the world pushes to net zero emissions. We believe there has been a complacency and lack of innovation in construction and post-construction design, a focus on air source heat recovery, while ground source heat pumps have been the main focus for geothermal heat sources, as opposed to wastewater. Geothermal and air source recovery methods have their drawbacks and often not efficient methods for heat recovery. Economic returns are typically skinny, while the timeline and scale of projects remain a hurdle for many methods.
From our perspective, it is unlikely emissions reduction targets will be met through one technology. It will take several initiatives to meet even the most conservative of goals. For now, we will dive into wastewater energy recovery and how it can contribute to meeting net-zero goals.
Wastewater energy recovery refers to the process of capturing the thermal energy in wastewater for the purposes of heating, cooling and hot water production. The process reduces greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes fresh water in cooling towers by balancing thermal energy levels utilizing wastewater as a medium. Since heat is recovered from the wastewater, less energy (natural gas, electricity) is required to heat utility water entering the building. There are several technologies attempting to improve thermal efficiency in buildings by extracting heat from waste water. Currently, most solutions in wastewater energy recovery are largely commercially unproven and hinge on technological advancements before broad applicability. That said, we touch on a few technologies below.
Current Wastewater Recovery Technologies
1. Anaerobic Digestion. This process utilizes an electrode placed in wastewater on which bacteria begins to grow. These bacteria transform the organic compounds present in the water into electricity. While this process also process purifies the wastewater, scalability is a significant hurdle.
2. Combined Heat and Power (CHP): This method captures the thermal energy generated during the wastewater treatment process and converts it into electricity and heat. While highly efficient, it requires a significant upfront investment to retrofit treatment facilities. The scalability of this technology is hindered by cost, maintenance, and regulatory requirements. Proximity to grid and connectivity is another consideration.
3.Microturbines and Fuel Cells: Microturbines are small, high-speed turbines are designed to generate electricity from the pressure and flow of wastewater. They are typically driven by a turbine impeller, which is powered by the kinetic energy of the wastewater. This method struggles to hit commerciality due to cost, inefficiency, limited capacity, variable power, and emissions associated with the process. Fuel cells work by oxidizing organic matter in the wastewater to generate an electrical current. This method also struggles with scalability and is limited by current technology.
4. Heat Exchangers/Pumps: Heat exchangers and heat pumps can be used to transfer heat from the wastewater to another stream, such as a heating system or a cooling system. When engineered and applied properly, this is a process can be both scaled to commerciality.
Despite the potential benefits of wastewater energy recovery, most methods have still several challenges that need to be overcome before they can be widely adopted. High cost, lack of standardization are key barriers to commerciality. SHARC Energy bridges the gap by utilizing proven technology in conjunction with engineering expertise to facilitate implementation.
SHARC Energy’s WET Process
SHARC International Systems Inc (SHARC: CSE, INTWF:OTCQB) is the only publicly traded company focused on Wastewater Energy Transfer “WET”. SHARC Energy’s systems recycle thermal energy from wastewater, generating energy efficient and economical systems for heating, cooling & hot water production for commercial, residential and industrial buildings.
SHARC’s process, in the simplest of terms, has taken the existing scalable technology of hydronic heating and cooling systems (chillers, heat pumps, air handlers, radiant heating, chilled beams etc.) along with engineering expertise to exchange thermal energy in and out of wastewater and convert it into clean and usable thermal energy. The wastewater is first passed through a series of pumps, and the thermal energy that is extracted is then used to heat a separate area or to generate electricity.
SHARC is an emerging leader in WET systems. WET requires 3 key components: Filtration/Screening, Thermal Exchange, and Amplification/Distribution. The company believes its filtration process are what sets it apart from its competition. Additionally, SHARC’s technology is commercially recognized as having the advantage of being able to harness thermal energy from wastewater over a wide range of volumes while only occupying a small footprint.
Source: SHARC Energy
SHARC Energy has two key product lines with the larger and internationally-patent pending SHARC model serving Industrial / Commercial /Residential applications and the smaller PIRANHA targeted for small to large Commercial / Residential uses. The company currently has a sales pipeline & sales order backlog of $11M for its products. The traditional SHARC system has a serviceable addressable market (SAM) size of over $6B in the U.S. alone. The smaller PIRANHA Series is a self-contained heat pump that uses a specifically designed direct expansion heat exchanger to recover thermal energy from a building’s wastewater for domestic hot water heating.
The PIRANHA series is poised to be the solution for the retrofit market as governments continue to move forward with climate action policy. The ease of retrofit and small-scale size offers this massive nascent market with a solution today. In addition, the company is witnessing an influx of demand for the PIRANHA system in master-planned communities with mixed-use facilities.
When used in conjunction with Geothermal installations, SHARC’s process improves overall thermal efficiency, and enhances economic returns as compared to standalone Geothermal projects.
Looking at the competitive landscape, SHARC’s process is lower cost, less complex, while being more scalable and being odor-free as compared to other options in the market .
Source: SHARC Energy
Some key projects that SHARC has been involved with are:
· The National Western Center in Denver Co. is an industrial scale operation utilizing the traditional SHARC system. When fully built out, this project will prevent 2,600 metric tonnes of annual CO2 emissions by circumventing the need to burn traditional hydrocarbons. This 3.8 MW system will process ~3,000 gallons per minute of wastewater and It is North America’s largest district energy wastewater energy recovery system at 3.8MW and will process ~3,000 gallons per minute of wastewater. It is estimated that heating and cooling buildings is about 50% of energy consumption in any city, with most sewer lines running hot; upwards of over 70 degrees Fahrenheit even in the wintertime. This facility in Denver is a model for systems that can be rolled out across the U.S.
· Lelem Living. The Lelem project is an example of a master-planned community utilizing SHARC as a centralized energy centre for the development. This is an example of how SHARC’s technology can be applied by Developers, Hospitals, Universities, and Regional Districts at the in the same installation.
· Lake Louise Inn. This 247 room resort in Banff National Park is using a PIRANHA to collect hot wastewater discharge from laundry systems, reducing energy demand by as much as 45%.
In our following posts we will provide more information on SHARC, recent wins and the technology behind how SHARC is set to change the world of “WET”. For more information on SHARC Energy please see www.sharcenergy.com or reach out to us directly email@example.com.