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Tube groundwater cooling study gets the go ahead


LONDON UNDERGROUND (LU) has asked researchers in South Bank University's engineering department to carry out a desk study into the viability of pumping groundwater around pipes within the Tube tunnels, to absorb and draw away excess heat.

South Bank approached LU with the idea after last summer's Tube delays left passengers swooning in tunnels at 38infinityC temperatures.

LU picked up on the pipe system because fitting normal air conditioning units is impractical, said chief mechanical and electrical engineer Ernie Boddington. They take up too much space and create as much heated air as they cool, he said.

South Bank University's Dr Graeme Maidment said the plan would exploit the year-round 11infinityC level of London's groundwater to regulate temperatures within the Tube.

Groundwater could be pumped into heat exchangers through a system of pipes. This would then cool hot air sucked into the heat exchangers and be blown out again by the piston effect of trains moving through tunnels.

If the research proves the idea is viable, Boddington hopes that a site on the Tube network could be customised and a prototype system installed within a year.

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