Ever wonder where all that heat generated in the subway goes? Well, the answer is usually nowhere. In London, however, that will soon change as Transport of London has teamed up with a local utility and the borough of Islington to harvest the enormous amount of heat generated by the metro system. The heat will be used to warm over 500 homes in Greater London.
Every year, the London Underground’s 11 rail lines transport over a billion passengers around the city and generate a lot of waste heat in the process. The city is currently assessing the feasibility of capturing that heat with a pilot project on the Underground’s Northern Line.
The process of capturing waste heat from energy systems and putting it to use is called co-generation and it is one of the best ways to improve efficiency and bring energy costs down. “Recycling heat from London Underground and the electrical network are exciting new ideas and a boost to our work to tackle fuel poverty and make Islington a fairer place. This cheaper energy scheme is greener too – local communities will see CO2 emissions drop by around over 500 tonnes each year,” said Rhakia Ismail, Islington Council’s executive member for sustainability. The vision for cogeneration in London doesn’t stop at the London Underground, however. To meet London’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2025, Mayor Boris Johnson has his eyes set on every piece of the city’s infrastructure, from power stations to sewage and water treatment centers.