If you had to name a location in London with an excess of heat, the tube network would be at the forefront of most people’s minds.
Now excess heat from the Northern Line will used by offices, leisure centres and homes in a district heating first.
The Bunhill Heat and Power Network currently supplies Finsbury Leisure Centre, Ironmonger Row Baths, office space and over 800 homes with power from district heating. An energy centre on Central Street provides both electricity and heat using a combined heat and power (CHP) system.
Cooling the underground network is hugely challenging. Tunnels are often built with just inches to spare and date back as far as 1863. The Northern Line, opened in 1890, is also the oldest ‘deep level’ metro line in the world. A ventilation shaft for the Northern Line currently sits within the defunct City Road station, between Old Street and Angel in Islington.
The site lies on the intersection between City Road, Central Street, and Graham Street.
It is here that phase two of the district heating scheme will be located. The new energy centre will connect the King’s Square Estate and add the extra capacity to supply 1,000 more homes.
A large, 1MW heat pump will utilise waste heat for a the hot water network. The system will also be reversed in the summer months and therefore supply cool air to the tube tunnels.
A district heating system is typically lower carbon than the individual heating from gas boilers. A key attraction of this model is future proofing and adaptability, as positive change can be made at supply or demand ends. The supply of free heat from the underground looks set only to expand in the years ahead.
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