London’s lost rivers ‘could turn the tide towards low carbon heat’

A new report suggests underground waterways could be fed through heat pumps to warm buildings

Festival Net Zero 2021

London’s lost rivers could provide the city with an unlimited source of low carbon heat.

That’s according to a new report from 10:10 Climate Action and energy consultancy Scene, which suggests waterways buried into heavily engineered channels under the streets and buildings of London could provide an untapped resource of heat energy.

The waters, although not warm enough to heat buildings on their own, could be directed through heat pumps, which in conjunction with a range of energy efficiency measures could provide usable heat.

The report claims the hidden river Tyburn under Green Park could be used to provide 100% of Buckingham Palace’s heat demand.

The Royal Household has previously indicated they are considering heat pumps as part of the palace’s planned refurbishment and 10:10 Climate Action is in the process of encouraging them to make the most of the underground river available.

It also suggests with reconfiguration of existing heating systems, the River Fleet could provide a third of the energy currently distributed through the Somers Town Heat Network in Camden and all the heating needs of the Acland Burghley school in the north of the borough.

Even Brockwell Lido, where the winter temperature can fall to as low as 2°C, could be heated by the nearby River Effra to a temperature of 25°C all year round.

Leo Murray, Director of Campaigns at 10:10 Climate Action, said: “The Mayor has set ambitious targets for phasing out gas burning in London over the coming years and we are going to need every bit of low carbon heat we can get our hands on to meet these goals.

“This means our utilities and authorities need to ramp up their appetite for adventure when it comes to seeking out opportunities like the ones identified in this report.”

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