One of the options that has as yet received little attention in the heat transition is aquathermal energy. In this study CE Delft and Deltares have estimated the potential of the various forms available. This lack of attention proves to be misguided: aquathermal can in theory make a major contribution to the required transition in the field of heating.
Thermal energy from surface waters
As a nation straddling a major delta the Netherlands has plenty of surface water available. In theory the thermal potential of all this water exceeds the country’s aggregate heat demand. The economically extractable potential is estimated at around 150 PJ per annum, over 40% of total future heat demand in the urban environment (350 PJ p.a.).
Thermal energy from wastewater
Besides surface waters, Dutch wastewater also has major potential as a heat source. This potential can be tapped into at various points in the chain (sewage pumping stations, sewage treatment plants). The opportunities have been analysed by Tauw and IF Technology, who concluded that around 56 PJ p.a. of heat can be extracted from this source .
Thermal energy from drinking water
During production of drinking water, heat is generated that can be used for space heating. An analysis by KWR estimates the potential at about 4-6 PJ p.a.
This study reports the potential of all three types of aquathermal, but these cannot simply be summed, as there is a degree of overlap. To calculate their collective potential, additional analysis is needed. This also holds for their real-world (market) potential. To that end the aquathermal concepts must be compared with alternative, competing heating technologies.