BLOG: COP27 Focus on Future Generations with Steven Brasher

10 November 2022

This year COP27 celebrates the contribution future generations can make towards climate change. With that in mind Specialist Graduate, Steven Brasher, tells us what drew him to Horizons and about his time so far.

I initially studied a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering with Energy Engineering at Heriot-Watt University. The core teachings of chemical engineering are very focussed on the oil and gas industry and I quickly realised that I didn’t want to progress in that area. Instead, I decided to extend my degree into Energy Engineering which formally introduced me to the exciting world of renewable energy.

Steven Brasher, Specialist Graduate

Once I completed my degree, I applied for the Scottish Water Graduate Scheme having learned that its subsidiary, Scottish Water Horizons, has been tasked with driving its low carbon and renewable agenda. Having officially joined Horizons in September, I can’t believe what I’ve been a part of already!

Energy from waste

I’m currently working on a project to maximise the potential of Horizons’ anaerobic digestion plant at Deerdykes near Cumbernauld. The aim is to determine if the plant can handle distillery and brewery wastes to produce green gas which can be injected into the national grid to help decarbonisation gas supplies.

We are also looking at capturing and liquefying carbon dioxide, a by-product of the digestion process, to reduce the plant’s emissions. This also enables distilleries and breweries to reach their own Net Zero goals and reinforces our ambition of supporting a Flourishing Scotland.

Deerdykes anaerobic digestion and food waste recycling plant

Things are heating up!

Heat from waste water is another really interesting project I’ve been involved in. Waste water in sewer systems usually measures around 8-16°C thanks to water sources such as showers, washing machines and industrial processes. This provides a foundation for heat pumps to boost the temperature to higher, more useful levels at a lower cost. The end result is a low carbon, cost effective heat source for domestic or commercial properties.

An example of an earlier heat from waste water scheme at Stirling

Valuable learning

What I like to most about my current role is the drive to push forward projects that contribute to Scotland’s Net Zero target. I’ve a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable experience in new and emerging technologies; as well as learn the ropes of project management and delivery. I’m also very fortunate to work with amazing and inspiring people within Horizons – they’ve all welcomed me into the team and helped me settle into working life.

Combatting climate change

The impact of climate change is something I am very passionate about. We are now beginning to really see the impact that global warming is having and will continue to have. I’m proud to be a part of a team who are spearheading innovative ways of creating green energy so early in my career. It’s an exciting journey and having the opportunity to play my own part in combatting climate change is really rewarding.

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