Engineers for HS2 Ltd are looking at tapping heat from the brakes and engines of high speed trains for a district heating scheme.
Under the plans, hot water and central heating for 500 new homes near the planned HS2 hub at Old Oak Common in northwest London would come from five air source heat pumps drawing warm air from the railway’s tunnels.
Waste heat from trains is usually extracted from tunnels by traditional ventilation systems and seeps into the ground surrounding the tunnels. But HS2 Ltd instead wants to capture and exploit it.
HS2 innovation manager Pablo García said: “HS2 is so much more than a railway. By taking a long term view of how the benefits of investing in the new high speed railway can be shared, we’re investigating how to provide sustainable, low-carbon heating and hot water to up to 500 new homes.
“Near Old Oak Common we’re building a crossover box. This is an underground hall that houses a points junction to enable trains to arrive and depart from any of the station’s platforms. Our plans would see warm air pushed into the crossover box by trains, in effect acting like pistons. It then rises to be harnessed by air source heat pumps, converted into hot water and transported to homes by insulated pipes.”