In a remarkable attempt to utilise energy in multiple ways, heat from the London Underground will soon be used in 1350 homes in London. Waste heat will be channelled from the Northern Line to support the London Borough of Islington’s district heating. This will ensure that local homes, offices and leisure centres will get heat by the end of the year, reports Lonely Planet

Islington Council is confident that the new system will make the area more self-reliant in energy and reduce carbon emissions. It will also lower the heating bills for residents. For travellers, the new initiative will come as a form of respite as the underground tunnels will get a lot cooler after the excess heat is diverted. 

Specially designed ventilator shaft will divert the heat

The central source of the heat network, called Bunhill 2, is a ventilator shaft used to expel waste heat in the abandoned City Road tube station. The engineering firm Ramboll has designed a heat pump that will capture excess heat from the shaft. The heat will be warmed to approximately 70 degrees Celsius and transferred into Islington’s heat network. Heat and hot water will be thus supplied to the local buildings. The mechanism is designed to be reversed in warmer months. During the warmer months, it will pipe colder air into the tube tunnels to keep passengers cool. Bunhill 2 will begin operations in late 2019.

london underground

The project aims to provide cheaper and greener heat to buildings 

This new project is part of a larger scheme to provide cheaper and greener heat to buildings in the area. Many of these structures are existing council housing and leisure centres built between the 1930s and 1980s. The project is the second phase of Islington Council’s Bunhill Heat and Power scheme and is being run by the council in conjunction with Ramboll and Transport for London. 

“We believe that the use of large-scale heat in this way connected to urban district heating systems will play a major part in decarbonising the UK’s heating energy demand,” says Lucy Padfield, director of district heating at Ramboll.


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