Tunnel vision – taking heat from beneath the streets


Members of the i-STUTE and CEE teams have won a £200k grant to investigate recovering heat from London’s subterranean tunnels.

The London Urban Sub-Terrain Energy Recovery (LUSTER) project is led by Professor Graeme Maidment of London South Bank University, who will work with Dr Akos Revesz to look at a range of subterranean structures such as sewers, electricity cable tunnels and underground railway tunnels.

Heat that is generated in these structures can be drawn out with ground source heat pumps and used to heat domestic and commerical buildings on the surface, thus reducing the amout of new energy needing to be generated as well as reducing heating bills.

The CEE team at UCL (including Dr Rob Liddiard, Dr Hector Altamirano and Steve Evans) will bring their expertise in mapping the building stock of England and Wales to the project. They will locate buildings with a high heating demand close to areas of untapped underground heat. In this way they hope to find optimum examples of where the ground heat could be reused to save energy.

Research like this could inform the planning of future housing developments, locating them in areas where there are good sources of underground heat and building ground source heat pumps into the planning of the buildings.

Project work on this Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project begins in September 2017 and will build on the work of the i-STUTE and CEE centres. The project is an example of the innovative, cross-disciplinary thinking that can lead to reduction in energy use and help us move towards a low-carbon society. The researchers will work in partnership with a range of public bodies and private companies to access the various different types of underground structures.


See the LSBU website for more details

More i-STUTE and CEE content on the EUED site.