Tate Modern uses waste heat from electricity substation

London’s art gallery Tate Modern (pictured) will soon get its heating and hot water demand from waste heat recovered from an electricity substation. UK Power Networks will use heat recovered […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

London’s art gallery Tate Modern (pictured) will soon get its heating and hot water demand from waste heat recovered from an electricity substation.

UK Power Networks will use heat recovered as a by-product from its £60 million refurbished electricity substation Bankside. Engineering group Arup, which is also working on the project, claims the system is expected to provide around 7,000MWh of heat and save up to 1,400 tonnes of carbon emissions every year compared to conventional gas-fired boilers.

The substation receives electricity from the grid at 132,000 volts and a set of transformers convert it to 20,000 and 11,000 volts for distribution across London in underground cables. During the process, heat loss from the transformers is released naturally in the air but the pipes installed at Bankside will help capture and recycle that heat into the adjoining art gallery.

Paul Dyer, UK Power Networks’ Transformer Specialist said: “In all the major cities in the world there will be lots of opportunities to install heat recovery. It can only work where the substation is in close proximity to the building using the heat and urban areas have the potential to work best.

“One of the barriers to implementing heat recovery on a wider scale at the moment are the initial capital costs. However, the hope is that as more of these projects are developed, the costs might be reduced.”

The award-winning initiative got £800,000 from Ofgem’s Innovation Funding Incentive and £200,000 from the Tate Modern. More than 1,300 people worked on the project and 1,200 tonnes of metal as well as 150,000 litres of oil were recycled.