Re-use of London energy could solve emission problem

Researchers at London South Bank University have found a way of utilising only a third of a gas boiler’s carbon emissions and still producing the same amount of heat.

2.5-metre-wide tunnels lie beneath the streets of London, but the South Bank researchers have found that a 1.8-km stretch between the tunnels’ ventilation shafts can produce 400kw of heat, which would be enough to heat 100 homes or a small office.

“We now need to take this from a desk study to some practical demonstrations,” says Graeme Maidment, an LBSU professor of air conditioning and refrigeration engineering.

“What we’re proposing doesn’t necessarily need a large cable tunnel. It could be any power cable running in the ground and you could put a pipe next to it to absorb heat.”

In an attempt to curb emissions in the construction industry, the UK government have passed legislation that would prevent gas boilers being used in new construction from 2025. This means that there is currently a concerted effort across the industry to find more efficient and sustainable alternatives.

“If you transfer heat from the place you want to cool to space you want to warm, you can do both for the cost of one, can do so very efficiently, and save lots of carbon.”

Maidment believes that as well as the sustainable element of LSBU’s plan, there are plenty of other benefits that come with it.

“If you transfer heat from the place you want to cool to space you want to warm, you can do both for the cost of one, can do so very efficiently, and save lots of carbon.”

Other plans to limit London’s energy waste are being worked on such as the Bunhill 2 project which will warm over 1300 North London homes by using heat from the London Underground.

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