Heat From the London Underground Will Be Used to Warm Up 450 Homes

Waste heat from the London Underground will be harvested to warm up 450 homes this year 6 photos
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The British government has pledged to ban gas-fired boilers in new homes by 2015, so the quest for alternative means of heating up these homes translates into an expansion of the program that uses “waste heat” from various sources.
In urban environments, “waste heat” appears where there is heavy industry, cooling systems or thermal power plants, and can be harvested locally. The Greater London Authority (GLA) estimates that there is enough wasted heat in London to meet 38 percent of the city’s requirement for heat, according to The Guardian.

Enter the London Underground. Waste heat produced by it will be harvested to warm up homes in the Islington borough in north London, adding 450 more homes to a network that already comprises about 700. These 700 homes receive heat derived from the Bunhill Energy Centre, but the new project will pipe the heat from the underground by the end of the year.

“The tube project could pave the way for district heating schemes across the capital to warm homes with cheap, low carbon heat from underground lines,” the publication reports. The ultimate goal is to reduce emissions and waste, and effectively tackle the climate change crisis.

“Almost half the energy used in the UK is for heat, and a third of UK emissions are from heating. With the government declaring that we must be carbon-neutral within 30 years we need to find a way to take the carbon out of our heating system,” Tim Rotheray, director of the Association for Decentralized Energy, says for the same media outlet. “The opportunity that has become clear to the decentralized energy community is the idea of capturing waste heat and putting it to use locally.”

Various projects of the type have already popped up all over the U.K. In Wissington, Norfolk, for instance, a British Sugar factory harvests both waste heat and carbon emissions into a neighboring greenhouse that grows medical cannabis.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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