GCU Subway heat research leads to SPT award

20 June 2016

The work was undertaken as part of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership project.

The work was undertaken as part of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership project.

A Glasgow Caledonian University supported initiative focusing on the development of sustainable heat sources has won a Scottish Transport Award.

GCU worked with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to exploit wastewater in its Subway tunnels to turn it into heat.

Following successful research with the University, SPT is now trialling new energy-efficient heat-pump systems using water and air in the Subway.

The project won the Contribution to Sustainable Transport category at the 2016 Scottish Transport Awards.

The work was undertaken as part of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project with GCU, whose researchers established that the water captured in the underground tunnels has a temperature of around 10-14°C, which is sufficient for extracting heat for use as a sustainable heat source.

New heat-pump systems were trialled in St George’s Cross and Bridge Street Subways, and have been extended to other stations with potential for roll out across the network.

GCU’s Dr Nicholas Hytiris, a geotechnical specialist, and his team analysed all 21 sumps in the tunnels to monitor water flow and water temperature.

The team also established that the warm, humid air in the Subway can be captured and used to heat station offices. Since June 2014, measurements for the air temperature, air humidity and air flow have been undertaken.

The team comprising Dr Hytiris, Konstantinos Ninikas, Professor Rohinton Emmanuel and Bjorn Aaen have demonstrated that the air and water heat pumps are cost-effective development strategies for improving water management.

Dr Hytiris said: “This research has demonstrated that ingress water and air can be used beneficially to provide cheap heat energy to premises and the community. SPT has already extended the initial trials to include Kelvinbridge and Buchanan Street stations.”