Cities want to bottle up your body heat

Cities harness the power of wasted energy

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The Future. All around us is an abundant energy source that remains mostly untapped: heat. With the EPA determining 60% of uncaptured energy is lost as heat, there may be plenty of opportunities to not only harness an efficient power source that’s typically wasted, but also create a cycle of use and reuse.

Human battery
Cities around the world are already turning heat into energy.

  • In Vancouver, the False Creek neighborhood captures excess hot water from drains and uses it to warm homes.
  • In London, heat is being captured from subway tunnels and redirected to homes.
  • In Glasgow, the body heat from partiers at a club gets pushed into colder rooms to balance it out.
  • In Stockholm, the city is collecting heat created by data centers.
  • In Germany, the heat from asphalt is getting absorbed to warm the roads in winter when they ice over.

Next up, scientists hope to capture any heat stored underground — a move that would both capture energy and cool groundwater so it doesn’t become a hotbed (sorry, we had to) for bacteria.

And with cities typically being seven degrees warmer than their surrounding areas, Insider notes the “urban-heat-island-effect” can be used as a force for good.


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