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Why Steam Rises From San Francisco Streets

Why Steam Rises From San Francisco Streets

2023-04-23 10:08:16

If you happen to’ve ever strolled downtown SF, particularly alongside Market Avenue, you may need observed plumes of steam rising from numerous vents and manholes. It seems that this mysterious steam comes from a community of pipes that has been heating downtown SF for practically a century.

Over 180 clients, together with SF Metropolis Corridor, the Moscone Conference Middle, and the Golden Gate Theater, make the most of steam for area heating, home scorching water, air con, and different makes use of.

Two huge boilers, positioned in SoMA and Decrease Nob Hill, ship the steam via over 13 miles of underground pipes that type the downtown steam loop. This technique is answerable for heating over 37 million sq. ft of economic, residential, and authorities buildings.

The corporate that runs this steam community, Cordia, companies a 2-square-mile space in SF central enterprise district.

Courtesy of Cordia

Each of the steam-generating vegetation use boilers heated by pure fuel. The system’s mixed warmth and energy (CHP) gear generates 500 kW of electrical energy, basically making the plant vitality self-sufficient, in line with Cordia.

Critics of the system level out that the system produces warmth, but additionally wastes practically 250,000 gallons of water per day, in line with a 2015 story by CBS Bay Space.

Cordia addressed this situation by partnering on a water reclamation project to pump 30 million gallons of groundwater per 12 months from beneath Powell Avenue Station. The groundwater is purified and used within the boilers, which reduces the quantity of Metropolis consuming water wanted.

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Not each drop of water within the steam loop is wasted. A few of Cordia’s 180 clients do use a portion of the wastewater from their steam pipes for landscaping and flushing bogs, which incorporates SF Metropolis Corridor.

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