Leave it to the French to do something that's undeniably awesome yet leaves us feeling somewhat uncomfortable at the same time. An experimental heating system, being installed in a public housing project in Paris, will use the warmth generated by human bodies in a nearby Metro station to heat the building.
The system will tap the caloric heat emitted by the passengers milling about below ground as well as the heat generated from trains moving on the tracks, and funnel it through an underground corridor to heat exchangers that will push warm air through the building's pipes. The system isn't stand-alone, but will be supplemented by district heating.
The system is expected to heat 17 apartments and should cut carbon emissions by a third compared with a standard boiler heating system. And while we're generally all for smart applications of technology to make use of resources that are otherwise wasted, admittedly there's something eerily Matrix-esque about knowing that someone's apartment is being heated by your beating heart.
But for anyone who does feel their biology has been violated, it's worth noting that Paris has no plans to make the human-heating scheme ubiquitous. This particular project is one of opportunity – a stairwell that happens to connect the building to the Metro is serving as a conduit for the heat – and creating a means to pipe heat from other Metro stations to surrounding buildings is too expensive to be feasible.
Sounds wonderful, words cannot describe how awesome it would be to bask in the warm humid air given off by someone else's body, no?
@thunderf00t: that might be why they use a heat exchanger...
how the heck do they capture that much heat from somthing like that are the tunnels sealed? i mean ever been in the subway systems
So if you have a radiator leak with it smell like subway and BO
Ya know, they allow for the heat of human bodies in schools and the like. This is just a little more complicated application.
Normally, they probably vent some of the heat outside. Then one day, somebody slapped his hand on his forehead and yelled "Alors". Then he comvinced somebody that they should duct the heat to some apartments.
Depending on the number of passengers, it could be a significant supplementary heat source.
This isn't even new! They do this to heat the entire Mall of America in Minneapolis mn
"It’s not a new idea. The Mall of America in Minneapolis recycles the heat produced by shoppers to help keep the 220-acre building warm during Minnesota winters. The engineers in Sweden have taken the idea one better. They’re using the hot air from the station to heat a new office building a couple of hundred yards away. The commuter-heated water cuts heating bills for the office building by about 20 percent." via
That was exactly what I was thinking. Would the apartment complex smell like a million sweaty Parisians?
I do expect that they are using some sort of heat exchanger but I would be even more amazed that they would have the surplus energy to make up for the loss of efficiency.
The heat exhchanger would also have to be in place to manage the risk of collateral injuries due to catastrophic events in the Metro such as a fire. You wouldn't want the toxic smoke etc to be piped through the apartment complex too.
"The human body generates more bio-electricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 BTU's of body heat.
What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this."
[holds up a Duracell battery]
-Morpheus, The Matrix
It states in the article that th're using heat exchanges. They're moving heat, not air. So, relax kids, you're apartment isn't going to smell of stale cologne and b.o.
Pretty cool idea. It's definately not new by any means- hell, the way you design any building for summer cooling loads is by accounting for all people and their activity levels. Even recycling the heat from the train is pretty ingenious- I'm sure those suckers give off quite a bit of heat too between the motor, lighting, and friction of the tracks and air. A person gives off anywhere between 100-150 watts, and especially in a hustling place like the subway, there's plenty of wasted heat that would either be exhausted to the streets above or disappaited in the tunnel and the walls.
As for the stinky-Pierre French B.O. smell, its like suddenmischief said- the warm subway air is most likely being used to warm incoming outdoor air for the apartments with the ERU, so no actual air would be recycled from the subway, only heat.
Either way, they have enough perfume to go around.
Vienna's new U-2 subway extension also has a system in place to capture heat and use it to heat nearby apartments and buildings, you can read more about the program here:
Hmmmmm.... sitting in the smell of thousands of stinky people.....
ok 1. this sounds completely nasty, i feel for the people getting heated by the subway. and 2. well...thats just it. terrible foul idea o.0 -,,,,-
To do that, you have to chill the people below, who might like to have that heat themselves.
It is possible to save summer heat in groundwater, while the cool water is used for air conditioning. Then in the winter, the warmed water can be used to heat a heat pump, which would warm the area above, while cooling the water below.
Sounds like an awesome idea, but I wouldn't want to be the first residents to try the new heating system. I'm sure they'll have to work out many quirks to get this working just right. Thumbs up to London for being innovative.