London’s “lost” rivers could yield clean energy for landmark buildings such as Buckingham Palace, experts say. Environmental groups claim that heat pumps could extract energy from rivers such as the Tyburn and Fleet that now run underground to provide the heating needs of certain big buildings. In the report the groups 10:10 and Scene identify five sites on different rivers, including the palace, a secondary school, a town hall, a group of housing estates and a lido, where the technology would be viable. These schemes could be a blueprint for similar initiatives in other UK cities. The groups are in talks with the palace’s consultants and councils to consider feasibility in more detail. Scores of tributaries of the Thames and River Lea previously flowed through London, powering mills and enabling fishing and river transport. By the 18th century many had degnerated into sewers and in 1728 the poet Alexander Pope described the Fleet rolling its “large tribute of dead dogs” to Old Father Thames. The rivers now run in covered channels dating from the Georgian and Victorian periods. The environmentalists say that water-source heat pumps could extract and amplify the warmth in the rivers to heat nearby buildings in the colder months. Using heat-exchange technology it could provide cooling in summer. The technology is already used in Stuttgart, where the heating and cooling needs of the Baden-Württemberg state ministry are supplied by the underground River Nesenbach.
Times 16th July 2018 read more »