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ringing new technology and business models to market is a tough and often bumpy journey. It requires tenacity – and often bloody-mindedness – to achieve results.


The challenges of bringing new technology to market B

year heat supply agreement, despite the predicted cost savings.

By Russ Burton, Chief Operang Ocer, SHARC Energy Systems.

At SHARC Energy Systems, we have been working hard to establish innovative green energy technology in the UK. It would seem like a no-brainer. Our technology, developed in Canada, taps into the natural warmth of wastewater and transfers the heat to the clean side of the heating system via a heat exchange mechanism. The recovered heat is then amplified via heat pumps to generate the appropriate temperatures for use in buildings

Success came in 2015 when Borders College in Galashiels, Scotland, became the first UK organisation to benefit from our wastewater heat recovery system. The system intercepts waste water from the adjacent town sewer line operated by Scottish Water.

The heat produced is being sold to Borders College under a 20-year purchase agreement, producing savings in energy, costs and carbon emissions. And the system now provides around 95% of the heat needed by the Galashiels campus without impacting on the operation of the local waste water network.

Getting this project off the ground was a major boost for management and investors alike and we all looked forward to a pipeline of contracts based on its success. But despite interest, challenges remained. Potential customers seemed reluctant to sign up to new technology and many did not like the idea of a 20-

We are heartened, however, by the Scottish government’s strategy to decarbonise its electricity grid and support the nation’s transition to a low carbon economy.

There is no doubt that a positive policy environment, supported by strong political leadership and targeted economic support, will always stimulate interest and guide the market place to the opportunity.

However, the policy itself won’t deliver change or shift thinking among end users. This will only come from entrepreneurs willing to take a risk and combine policy and environment to goods and services that will support the policy and make the required difference.

This is doubly hard when new technology is competing against decades of established working practice and the fear of anything new. Our biggest challenge is to educate possible customers and demonstrate to them the benefits of this technology. So a willing audience and the skill to work through the education process as well as possess the ability to prove what you say is true, is an essential step to the goal of commercialising the solution. There should be no doubt that what has been achieved by the SHARC team in introducing our technology as a real alternative to the combustion heat solutions available as well as our business model, using heat supply contracts to de-risk the clients Capex and Opex exposure is remarkable and a cause for celebration.

To get the business to this stage has involved a myriad of activities to establish the program including: u Stakeholder engagement and education, working through the levels of challenge – technical – economic – environmental uCompete with a heavily invested gas supply market that is currently operating on a cheap but unsustainable price point uPioneer the use of heat supply agreements as a method of de-risking the deployment of new technology uEducate ourselves in the complexity of public sector bureaucracy and stakeholder engagement. uDevelop partnerships that will allow us to scale the operation whilst maintaining a competitive, efficient operating structure. uEstablishing the award-winning Borders college scheme as a shining light on our technology and business model, with over 200 customer visits to the site. In another major step forward, in March last year, the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon

Infrastructure Transition Program (LCITP) announced the award of a £5m grant to support the deployment of SHARC technology across Scotland. The key message is that we have started the very complex and time- consuming journey to

commercialisation and we expect to start this in earnest during 2018. I’m now looking forward to 2018 with enthusiasm and even greater optimism in the future of our technology.

Success came in 2015 when Borders College in Galashiels, Scotland, became the first UK organisaon to benefit from our wastewater heat recovery system. The system intercepts waste water from the adjacent town sewer line operated by Scosh Water.

Simply brilliant 

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