SHARC Energy Systems isn’t just blowing hot air
The Port Coquitlam company’s technology is revolutionizing wastewater treatment.
A dozen years ago, Lynn Mueller was set to retire. “It didn’t work out very well,” the long-time refrigeration mechanic recalls with a chuckle. “Turns out my wife was even less ready for that than I was.”
In the 30 days he spent at home trying not to do anything, he discovered that his family spent about $1,200 a year heating their Richmond house through the hot water tank. “It was simple math,” he says. “There are 400 houses in our neighbourhood. Everyone’s throwing away more than $1,000. Where is that going, and why can’t we re-use it?”
Turns out you can. Mueller founded Port Coquitlam-based SHARC Energy Systems and invented what he now calls the “very best sewage filtration system in the world” to filter out material and save the heat, thus reducing costs while recovering energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
In the last few years especially, SHARC has proven its worth and then some. The 25-person company saw a 320 percent year-over-year increase in revenue last year and it continues to grow.
“Twelve years ago, this was way ahead of its time,” says Mueller on the phone from Las Vegas, where he’s working to establish a few systems. “There wasn’t a push to decarbonize fuel supply. But we’re not only green, we’re super efficient; this saves money.”
Mueller has already seen the installation of about 35 different systems in commercial and residential buildings across three continents. Those include the False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility and Seven35, a 60-unit condo building in North Vancouver that has, according to Mueller, reduced its annual cost by more than $10,000 and reduced Co2 emissions to just 669 from 68,000. Last year, Mueller won a national sustainability award for his efforts.
“The nice part of what we do is that we continually re-use the same energy,” says Mueller of his company, which is publicly traded on the CSE. “We extract it from the wasteflow, make the next batch of hot water with that heat, give it to people, they throw it away again, and we shift it out of the shit and give it to them again.”
Even those who made their hay in more traditional energy spaces are adopting the technology. “Our biggest investors are from the oil patches in Calgary,” says Mueller. “They’re intuitive, because they know their market is shrinking. This is the groundbreaking technology of the future and we’re the next unicorn stock, you watch.”