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Denver facility to use wastewater pipes to generate energy

DENVER — Officials say sewer pipes carrying wastewater from a Colorado meeting complex will be used to generate clean power as part of the largest sewer heat recovery system in North America.

The Denver Post reports that officials overseeing redevelopment of the National Western Center campus said Monday they estimate the system will prevent the emission of 2,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere yearly by not burning fossil fuels.

The agriculture, education and entertainment facility will use a pair of 72-inch (183-centimeter) sewer pipes carrying wastewater and human byproducts to a treatment facility north of downtown.

Officials say the system harvests heat from water going down the drains of sinks, showers, dishwashers, washing machines and toilets.

The closed-loop system isolates the soiled, sewer-pipe water while using a heat pump to transfer the warmth to pipes filled with fresh water. The heated clean water powers heating and cooling machinery in campus buildings, officials said.

Seven new buildings are scheduled to be built on the National Western campus by 2024 as part of a $1 billion overhaul of the property.

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