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17th March, 2020

LSBU academics help develop a world-first sustainable energy scheme using waste heat from the Tube to warm homes, two leisure centres and a school in Islington

London South Bank University

A new sustainable energy system that takes waste heat from the London Underground network to provide heating and hot water for more than 1,350 homes, a school and two leisure centres in the London borough of Islington, thanks to a pioneering energy centre opening this week (5 March).

The revolutionary Bunhill 2 Energy Centre – the first of its kind globally – provides a blueprint for decarbonising heat in London and around the world, reducing heating bills for consumers and carbon emissions, while improving air quality and making cities more energy self-sufficient.

The new energy centre uses state-of-the-art technology on the site of a disused Underground station that commuters have not seen for almost 100 years. The remains of the station, once known as City Road, have been transformed to house a huge underground fan which extracts warm air from the Northern line tunnels below. The warm air is used to heat water that is then pumped to buildings in the neighbourhood through a new 1.5km network of underground pipes.

Bunhill 2 has been delivered by Islington Council in collaboration with partners, Transport for London and the Mayor of London’s office.

LSBU’s role in the project is to analyse the real life performance of the scheme, evaluating its benefits and identifying how these can be best applied. The research project will serve as guidance to help operators optimise the efficiency of the heat generation plant and better understand the impacts of the scheme.

The heating and cooling team in LSBU’s School of Engineering, have been researching opportunities for recovering heat from a variety of sources found in the urban environment, including the London Underground. The team’s long-term research partnership with Transport for London (TfL) has shown that it is possible to efficiently capture heat from the Tube and reuse it to provide low carbon, low cost heat to residents, at the same time as cooling the Tube.

Henrique Lagoeiro, LSBU Engineering PhD Student, who has been testing the technology behind Bunhill, for TFL, said:

“It’s a privilege and honour to be involved in this world leading project where real change is possible.”

Professor Graeme Maidment Professor of Heating and Cooling at LSBU, said:

“We are delighted to be able play a part in this project. Secondary heat opportunities provide massive potential to deliver large scale carbon savings, and this project will I’m sure be replicated in many places worldwide.”

Professor Asa Barber, Dean of LSBU’s School Of Engineering said:

“LSBU is at the forefront of applied engineering research with real world outcomes and we are delighted to support the launch of Bunhill 2.”

LSBU has played an essential role in developing this ground breaking project, providing advice for relevant partners and the project provides a strong foundation to the recently launched GreenSCIES project.

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