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London Plans to Use Heat from the Underground to Keep Homes Warm

The London underground is generally a hot and uncomfortable place, warmed by the thousands of commuters, lights, trains, and other such sources of heat. A new scheme plans to put this waste heat to good use by extracting it and heating local homes in order to cut their energy bills.

Similar projects have already been developed in Stockholm and Paris, but on a much smaller scale. This London scheme proves that the technology can be easily scaled up, and replicated with relative ease.

The scheme has received £2.7 million in funding from the Islington Council, and £1 million from the European Union as part of its CELSIUS project (Combined Efficient Large Scale Integrated Urban Systems). CELSIUS is an initiative dedicated to identifying and exploiting the best practices for smart city heating and cooling. It encourages the use of low-cost, readily available sources of heat, and offers a viable solution to combat rising energy prices and the problem of fuel poverty.

Related article: UK to Launch Fracking Bonanza

The project will capture waste heat from a ventilation shaft on the Northern Line and then pipe it into the local Bunhill Heat and Power centre, which already uses excess heat from a nearby power station to warm 700 homes. The addition of the heat from the underground will provide for another 500 properties.

London Underground

Paul Higgins, the Associate Director of the Carbon Trust, told Green Futures Magazine that “recovering waste heat and using it to warm incoming air or water can significantly improve the efficiency of boilers, heat pumps and other equipment.”

Research “has shown that for [a majority] of industrial processes recovering waste heat can reduce sector-level carbon emissions by between 3-7%. Each year between 10-40TWh is lost from industrial processes alone [and] to put that into context 40THw is roughly what the entire food, drink and tobacco manufacturing industries in this country use annually.”

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Rakhia Ismail, the Islington Council’s executive member for sustainability, said that they expect to reduce carbon emissions by 500 tonnes a year. Higgins suggests that implementing more such schemes to capture waste heat across the capital could help reduce emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year.

London Mayor Boris Johnson wants to reduce carbon emissions by 60% and produce 25% of London’s energy from local sources by 2025.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com

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