Away from gas. Opportunities for new concepts of low-temperature geothermal energy and minewater

Low-temperature geothermal heat (LTGH) and the Mine Water (MW) concept are two innovative and relatively unknown heating concepts that can potentially make a major contribution to the heat transition in the Netherlands. This is the main result to emerge from a study of the potential of these concepts carried out by CE Delft and IF Technology at the request of TKI Urban Energy and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

Both concepts use low-temperature heat grids and harvest their heat from local substrates or from within the housing estate itself. The MW concept includes a smart thermal grid with underground buffering.

There is still only limited knowledge about these two innovative systems, which are currently being put through their paces at a single location by a single party. As a result, some are querying whether they can be applied elsewhere in the Netherlands. To improve understanding in this context, the present study sets out the characteristics, bottlenecks and opportunities of these low-temperature options in the Netherlands. It also estimates the (significant) potential of each.

According to the study LTGH systems are feasible at numerous locations across the country, even where regular geothermal is not (yet) an option. The MW concept is likewise feasible in many places, with buffering possible both above and below ground and a disused mine not essential. A smart thermal grid as conceived in the MW system makes smart use of demand for heat and cold, closely matching supply and demand at both site and dwelling level and anticipating weather and demand profiles. The concepts can be applied either separately or in combination. In addition, both concepts can be implemented at a smaller scale level than is generally the case with high-temperature (HT) heat grids. These concepts and their component parts have the potential to be the next step in further greening of today’s HT heat grids and creating a gas-free urban environment.



Guus Willemsen, Marc Koenders, Bas de Zwart (IF Technology)

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