Glasgow venue starts generating power from fans dancing

Glasgow music venue SWG3 is generating reneweable energy from fans; body heat

Glasgow venue SWG3 has begun generating its own renewable energy from the body heat on its dancefloor.

The body heat from people dancing is piped via a carrier fluid to 200m (650 ft) bore holes that can be charged like a thermal battery. The energy then travels back to the heat pumps before being upgraded to a suitable temperature and emitted back into SWG3.

According to the owners, this system, known as Bodyheat, will allow them to completely disconnect the venue’s gas boilers, cutting about 70 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

The system was designed by geothermal energy consultancy TownRock Energy. Its founder, David Townsend, told BBC News: “When you start dancing, medium pace, to the Rolling Stones or something, you might be generating 250W. But if you’ve got a big DJ, absolutely slamming basslines and making everyone jump up and down, you could be generating 500-600W of thermal energy.”

SWG3’s managing director Andrew Fleming-Brown described installing the system as a “leap of faith” and an instrumental part of achieving the venue’s goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2025.

“If we can make it work here in this environment, there’s no reason why we can’t take it to other venues, not just here in Scotland and the UK, across Europe and further afield,” he said.

The Bodyheat system took three years to install, at a cost of £600,000. The project was supported by the Scottish government and largely subsidised through a series of grants. However, the savings on energy bills will make the investment recoverable in about five years, depending on costs.

Coldplay have also spoken about using innovative technology to reduce the carbon footprint of their live shows. In 2021, to coincide with the publication of a 12-point sustainability plan, they announced they would be using a “kinetic floor” on their next stadium tour to generate power from fans moving and dancing during their show.

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