An ambitious, and definitely unique, plan is underway in Paris, France to generate heat for an apartment complex above the Paris metro.
Waiting passengers’ collective body heat will generate heat to the complex above, along with heat from passing trains, the rail, etc.
It’s an experiment right now, but if it proves useful, the system may be implemented more widely, and might not be limited just to the Paris metro. Using heat exchangers, researchers will tap into human caloric heat and transform it into usable heat for the tenants above.
It won’t be a stand-alone system, and will be used in conjunction with the energy grid. Still, it is expected to cut carbon emissions by a third when compared to the standard boiler system currently in operation. The experimental heating system will provide warmth for 17 apartments.
While the city doesn’t have plans to use this heat for other metro stations, other countries with thriving metros may look to use this idea for themselves. After all, it’s simple, guaranteed, eco-friendly, and future-proof. Once you get over the creep factor, it’s actually pretty awesome.
Sidewalk-warming projects, ice-melting systems, solar power, and others can take a page from these researcher’s notes on how to utilize natural energy from humans, since it’s available in such a large quantity. The only thing to be careful of is avoiding the invasion of privacy. Too much of a good thing might turn people off from the program, regardless of the benefits.
Look to see this system copied in airports, train stations, bus shelters, and more as the realization that free energy can be tapped into begins to set in.
Inventors, let’s see what you’ve got.
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