Published on November 24th, 2015 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

Waste Heat Recovery… From The Sewer? Canadian Firm Harvests Wasted Hot Water [Video]

We’ve discussed all sort of energy harvesting possibilities from sewage, but nearly all of those were tied to the waste material floating in that water. It turns out the water itself is also a carrier of energy, in the form of heat. British Columbia-based International Wastewater Systems has figured out a technology for waste heat recovery from sewers that can save municipalities and other setting with lots of people quite a bit of money on their energy spending… and make a nice dent in greenhouse gas emissions.

The general premise is pretty simple: we all send hot water – from our showers, dishwashers, sinks, etc – down the drain. That’s energy, and by using a heat exchange-based system they call The Sewage SHARC, IWS provides a means to recover that energy.

The video above goes into much more detail on how this works, including the kinds of cost savings it can produce. Yes, this is a promo video, with lots of promo-speak, but the underlying concept and the technology the company’s built are just fascinating. I know a number of European countries have done great work with waste heat recovery at a municipal scale, but, even in those cases, I’m not sure that heat from the sewers is part of the equation.

This video’s a little longer than what we normally post, but well worth your time. Once you finish it, please share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Feature image credit: Shutterstock


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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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