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Sustainable cooling of underground railways using the heat sink effect


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Sustainable cooling of underground railways using the heat sink effect

Geothermal energy is becoming more important in engineering due to a drive toward sustainable energy efficient systems. For maximum benefit of these systems to be realized they need to be part of an integrated balanced cycle. The ground which surrounds an underground railway system is often contains substantial quantities of heat energy that has been absorbed from that generated within the tunnels. This heat remains in the ground surrounding the railway tunnels and can prevent the effective removal of heat from the tunnels and create over heated conditions in the tunnels themselves.

This paper explores these themes and discusses the problems with using geothermal cooling techniques in the UK environment for cooling an underground railway. The paper then presents the opportunities that exist and the techniques that would be necessary to harness the heat energy stored in the ground surrounding an underground railway system. This heat could be used in a variety of applications such as providing heating to buildings or heating swimming pools.

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