Recycling energy from London’s tube system to power a community


Key facts

  • World's first energy recovery scheme

  • Providing heat and hot water to 1,350 homes, a school and two leisure centres in Islington

  • Uses waste heat from the London Underground

Project Objectives


  • To recover and deliver this groundbreaking energy project, which was two years behind schedule and significantly over budget

  • To help LB Islington update their existing systems to incorporate new technologies. 



  • The Council asked us to quickly prepare a recovery plan with detailed recommendations of how to get the project back on track

  • We immersed ourselves in every element of the project; technical, commercial and contractual and produced a report with detailed recommendations within six weeks

  • The Council accepted all the recommendations and asked us to implement them

  • Since July 2019 we’ve been supporting the Council through to completion of the project in February 2020 and transition of the project into operation. 


The revolutionary Bunhill 2 Energy Centre – the first of its kind in the world – provides a blueprint for decarbonising heat in potential future schemes in London and around the world, reducing heating bills and carbon emissions while improving air quality and making cities more self-sufficient in energy.

The new energy centre uses state-of-the-art technology on the site of a disused underground station that commuters have not seen for almost 100 years. The remains of the station, once known as City Road, have been transformed to house a huge underground fan which extracts warm air from the Northern line tunnels below. The warm air is used to heat water that is then pumped to buildings in the neighbourhood through a new 1.5km network of underground pipes.

The energy centre and new pipework adds a further 550 homes and a primary school to the existing Bunhill Heat and Power district heating network, launched in Islington in 2012. The network already provided cheaper, greener heat every day of the year to two local leisure centres and more than 800 homes, but the new energy centre gives the system the potential to supply up to 2,200 homes.

The centre’s combined heat and power technology means it also generates cheaper, greener electricity that is fed into the London Underground network and an adjacent tower block, powering its communal lighting and lifts.

In addition, the two-metre fan, installed in an existing six-storey London Underground mid-tunnel ventilation shaft, can also be reversed to help with cooling the Tube tunnels in the summer months.


“I reached out to the industry for help to get our Bunhill II project back on track and luckily Inner Circle took up the challenge. When they got involved the project was two years behind schedule and significantly over budget and we didn’t have a clear plan to get it back on track. Inner Circle started quickly and accelerated; delivering a comprehensive report and detailed recommendations in six weeks. ”


Karen Agbabiaka, Chief Officer, LB Islington

© 2019 Inner Circle Consulting      

Unit 3, 9 Bell Yard Mews, London, SE1 3UY  

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