Wednesday, April 5, 2023

SHARC and PIRAHNA to the Rescue

The Climate Crisis is scary, making the future seem uncertain, but times like this is when we sometimes bring out the best parts of ourselves. I’m talking about the inventiveness, and creativity that we share as a species, our ability to find the most brilliant solutions to our most dire problems, in the most unexpected of places. I was attending a presentation hosted by Cascadia Cleantech Alliance when I learned about a company, that was tapping into what was to me the most unexpected source of renewable energy.

SHARC ENERGY, located in Port Coquitlam British Columbia, is a company that builds wastewater energy recovery systems. When we use water in everyday life, we don’t tend to think about it once it has gone down the drain, so we often don’t realize how much useable heat we’re just wasting. When we use hot water to wash our hands, take showers, do our laundry, etc. we turn our sewers into reservoirs of forgotten thermal energy lying dormant beneath our feet.

Why should we care about a small amount of heat?

Surprisingly the energy that’s discarded into our wastewater systems is actually significant. If you look at the infographic by SHARC Energy, conventional sewer systems simply take this heated wastewater and send it into the sewers to be treated and subsequently, released back into the environment, but wastewater systems using SHARC Energy capture that heat from wastewater using heat pumps to preheat fresh water that is destined for the building’s hot water tanks (1).

This process of wastewater energy recovery offers a surprising number of benefits in terms of lower costs, lower greenhouse gas emissions, less freshwater wasted, and lower environmental impact. Using wastewater energy recovery reduces the amount of natural gas a building needs to meet its heating requirements. For example, SHARC Energy claims that they have seen a 44% reduction in energy usage in their systems at their 3200 Bluff Project in Boulder Colorado(2.). The process also reduces the amount of freshwater needed by eliminating the need for cooling towers because energy can also be rejected into the wastewater energy system as well as recovered (1).

Another interesting benefit of wastewater energy recovery is that the process cools the wastewater, eventually returning to the environment after treatment. This is important for 2 reasons. Firstly, increasing the temperature in aquatic ecosystems can have negative impacts on temperature-sensitive species (3.), and secondly, dumping high-temperature water into our oceans exhausts our oceans’ ability to regulate our climate. The explanation for this requires a little bit of background first.

When we think of climate change, we think of how the increase in greenhouse gasses trap more heat in the atmosphere, but the atmosphere’s mass pales in comparison with the mass of our oceans. This means that the oceans have a massive capacity for heat, as well as a massive effect on our climate (4.). Because the oceans have so much mass, they also have a high heat inertia, which means that the climate will keep warming for a while even if we cut all greenhouse gas emissions. In the same way, a roast turkey keeps cooking when you let it rest after pulling it out of the oven, our oceans will keep exuding heat for a while because it takes a long time to cool something so massive. So it’s important to make sure that our treated wastewater is cooled before it’s released back into the oceans.


SHARC Energy has two product lines. The SHARC series for large-scale wastewater treatment projects such as “district energy, large commercial and Industrial use” (5.). And the second product line is the PIRAHNA series for smaller-scale projects such as “apartment complexes, hotels, and commercial use” (6). According to the PIRAHNA brochure, the scale the PIRAHNA addresses is on the order of 50–350-unit apartments.

Ways to get Involved

There are 3 ways to get involved in SHARC. Becoming a customer, becoming an investor, and finally, an option with a low barrier to entry, interning at SHARC Energy.

Anyone interested in purchasing SHARC systems can reach out to them at

Anyone interested in becoming an investor should check out the following

SHARC doesn’t publicly advertise their internship programs so all inquiries should be sent through to their contact us page.

Feel free to reach out to SHARC Energy with any questions you have on the Terrestrious Community Discord!

Final Thoughts

Our journey exploring wastewater energy recovery really highlights for me the opportunities we are faced with at this very moment in our history. Yes, we are in the middle of a climate crisis, but it is this crisis that is inspiring our very human ability to search for new solutions. Maybe you knew about wastewater energy recovery before reading this article and kudos to you, but I and many other are outsiders to the world of cleantech. Going through this process of building Terrestrious, and reaching out to companies like SHARC Energy on the frontlines of the climate crisis, I get to explore firsthand how the most unexpected solutions. like energy in the sewers beneath our feet is harnessed for the good of humanity. I don’t know about you, but it’s solutions like these that make me look hopefully toward the future.


To learn more be sure to check out SHARC Energy’s customer highlights, and their work to combine their systems with geothermal energy

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Destroying Forever Chemicals with Aquagga

 Aquagga on a Mission

In downtown Tacoma Washington, in a brightly lit office space located a few city blocks from the  Foss Waterway, I met with the 
award-winning engineering team of a Cleantech Startup called Aquagga. They were busy at work to destroy and remove PFAS from the world’s freshwater supplies in order “to improve health equity and environmental justice.”

PFAS (Per and polyfluroalkyl substances) colloquially known as “forever chemicals” are a group of man-made substances polluting our soil, air, and water. According to the EPA, exposure to PFAS has been linked to health problems such as…

  • Decreased Fertility
  • Developmental delay in children
  • Increased risk of cancer.
  • Reduced immune response.
  • Interference with Hormone Response
  • Increased Cholesterol levels and/or risk of Obesity

Aquagga's Map of PFAS Sources (PFAS Explained (

Despite their carcinogenic, developmental, pre-natal, and fertility-related harms, PFAS are present everywhere due to their use in chemical fire extinguishers, use in manufacturing, as well as in everyday products like nonstick frying pans and takeout containers (2). PFAS are held together by strong chemical bonds that make it impossible for them to break down naturally, which subsequently calls for a need to break down the chemicals through artificial means, or else these toxic chemicals will continue to accumulate in larger and larger quantities in our food, water, and our natural ecosystems.

Destroying PFAS

The challenge when it comes to removing PFAS in the environment (3), is that the Carbon Fluorine bonds in PFAS are extremely difficult to break, requiring processes that can often be energy-intensive, time-consuming, and or unable to completely break down the PFAS molecules (3). The engineering team at Aquagga seeks to destroy PFAS using a process called Hydrothermal Alkaline Treatment or HALT to destroy PFAS (3).

In the HALT process, the PFAS-contaminated wastewater is brought to high temperature, high-pressure, and high PH conditions which break down the PFAS molecules into smaller and smaller chains until they become “inert fluoride salts.”(4) According to Aquagga, they choose HALT as the method of breaking down PFAS over other processes because of HALT is highly effective, time and energy efficient, can treat wastewater with different levels of salinity, and the only byproducts are water, fluoride salts and carbon dioxide(3).
Aquagga Tech (Solutions (

Aquagga Specs (Solutions (

Aquagga plans to offer three different scale treatment systems ranging for water treatment from the Pilot series which can treat 2-20 gallons per hour, all the way to the Stampede series which can treat water at a rate of 80 to 800 gallons per hour.  So not only have they chosen an effective PFAS-destroying technology, they’re also designing a versatile range of systems around the HALT process to treat wastewater at any scale (3). As of now development has been completed on the Pilot series and is still undergoing for the Steed and Stampede series.

Ways to get Involved!

For anyone who would like to support Aquagga there 2 ways to get involved.

1.       Aquagga is currently fundraising through WeFunder.
Invest at
2.       Find a job at Aquagga

Aquagga is Currently Looking for
o   1 mechanical design engineer -couple years of experience preferred
o   1  hardware test engineer – couple years of experience preferred
o   1 operations manager
o   1 technical business development manager
Click here for more info.


Final Thoughts

Aquagga is developing their technology around the game-changing Hydrothermal Alkaline treatment as a revolutionary solution to PFAS contamination in water. Aquagga's technology has the potential to make a significant impact in cleaning up contaminated water sources and protecting public health. As the company continues to grow and expand, we can expect to see more cutting-edge and innovative solutions from Aquagga.

SHARC and PIRAHNA to the Rescue

The Climate Crisis is scary, making the future seem uncertain, but times like this is when we sometimes bring out the best parts of oursel...