Posts Tagged: Industrial Ecology



Paris Metro To Share The Warmth

This week Cleantechies reports on an innovative plan by the Paris Metro to use excess heat generated by riders and vehicles to heat a nearby building.

You read that right, generated by riders.

The essence of the plan is rather straightforward: Humans generate a large amount of body heat. When humans use underground transit systems, that heat gets trapped underground as waste.

A housing project near Paris’ famous Pompidou museum is being renovated such that a stairwell connected to the Metro will funnel this excess heat from a subterranean Metro station up into the housing project above. According to sources quoted in the article, the project is based on geothermal technology and should cut carbon emissions by 1/3 in the housing project.

The entire concept makes logical sense and exemplifies the industrial ecology principle of turning the output/waste of one industry into the input/product of another.

Should this project become successful and researchers find ways to scale this technology upwards, a question will need to be asked: Could a Metro/Subway system make money selling riders’ body heat to warm the buildings along its route?

As energy costs increase (notwithstanding current recession-level bargains) and transit systems face progressively worse balance sheets, could this be a future revenue stream for public transportation?

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