Heat from the London Underground ‘to be used to warm homes’: New plan will pump hot air out of tunnels and into radiators on the surface
- Excess heat from Northern line trains will be used to warm up homes in Islington
- It is one of many schemes across the UK that use waste energy from factories
- It comes as a solar farm of more than 100 panels in Hampshire has been plugged into a stretch of track in Hampshire in a world first
Londoners often complain about the soaring temperatures on the Underground during heatwaves – but the subterranean swelter could soon be used to keep homes warm in the colder months.
The blazing heat of the Northern line, which runs from Morden in the southwest of the capital to High Barnet and Edgware in the north, could soon be harnessed to warm up homes in Islington under a new scheme.
Businesses and houses under the Islington district heating scheme are set to see hear piped to them from underground trains by the end of the year.
The network currently keeps 700 homes, schools and a leisure centre cosy with heat generated in the Bunhill energy centre.
The network currently keeps 700 homes, schools and a leisure centre cosy with heat generated in the Bunhill energy centre
But, the next phase of the project, will stretch to another 450 homes, according to the Guardian.
If successful, the project could be a catalyst for district heating schemes across London, and the UK. Currently, there are projects throughout the country using waste energy from disused mine shafts, river, power plants and factories, being used to heat up homes and businesses.
There is enough energy wasted in London to cover 38 per cent of its heating needs, according to Greater London Authority.
The government has pledged to ban boilers that run on gas in new homes from 2025, leading to a surge in the surge for renewable energy.
Tim Rotheray, director of the Association for Decentralised Energy, told the Guardian the schemes will help tackle climate change.
It comes as a stretch of track near Aldershot was receiving 30kW from a nearby solar farm made of 100 individual panels
‘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’ he said.
It comes as a solar farm of more than 100 panels in Hampshire has been plugged into a stretch of track in Hampshire in a world first.
The renewable electricity will be used to provide energy for the signalling and lights on Network Rail’s Wessex route.
The renewable electricity will be used to provide energy for the signalling and lights on Network Rail’s Wessex route
It is hoped it can be the first step in establishing the necessary infrastructure for trains that are directly powered by solar energy.
Network Rail is making a big push to move away from diesel-powered locomotives and is electrifying the rails to reduce its carbon footprint.
The pilot scheme is the brainchild of a joint project between the charity 10:10 Climate Action and Imperial College London.
The research team behind it, dubbed Riding Sunbeams, believes it to be the first example of solar energy being used to power train lines anywhere in the world.
Leo Murray, Director of Riding Sunbeams, said: ‘Matchmaking the UK’s biggest electricity user, the railways, with the nation’s favourite energy source, solar power, looks like the start of the perfect relationship.
WHAT IS BIOFUEL AND HOW IS IT PRODUCED?
Biomass is fuel that is developed from organic materials, a renewable and sustainable source of energy used to create electricity or other forms of power.
Some examples of materials that make up biomass fuels are scrap lumber, forest debris, crops, manure and some types of waste residues.
With a constant supply of waste – from construction and demolition activities, to wood not used in papermaking, to municipal solid waste – green energy production can continue indefinitely.
Biomass is a renewable source of fuel to produce energy because waste residues will always exist – in terms of scrap wood, mill residuals and forest resources.
Properly managed forests will always have more trees, and we will always have crops and the residual biological matter from those crops.
Biomass power is carbon neutral electricity generated from this renewable organic waste that would otherwise be dumped in landfills, openly burned, or left as fodder for forest fires.
When burned, the energy in biomass is released as heat. If you have a fireplace, you already are participating in the use of biomass as the wood you burn in it is a biomass fuel.
In biomass power plants, wood waste or other waste is burned to produce steam that runs a turbine to make electricity, or that provides heat to industries and homes.
Fortunately, new technologies – including pollution controls and combustion engineering – have advanced to the point that any emissions from burning biomass in industrial facilities are generally less than emissions produced when using fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil.