Geothermal energy and heat network Delft take the next step

The urgency of the energy transition is increasing every day. CO₂ emissions must be reduced by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and 1.5 million households must be natural gas-free. That requires concrete action. By obtaining the SDE++ subsidy, TU Delft, Aardyn, Shell Geothermal (Shell) and Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN) are taking an important step in the construction of a geothermal source on the TU Delft campus, under the name Geothermie Delft (GTD). This source provides sustainable heat and scientific insights. A unique project in which research and industry come together, at a crucial moment in the energy transition.

An important step has also been taken on the side of the customers: the four housing associations DUWO, Vestia, Vidomes and Woonbron, network operator NetVerder, heat supplier EQUANS and the municipality of Delft have committed themselves to the construction of a heat network in the Voorhof and Buitenhof districts. This will enable 5,000 and later possibly 15,000 homes to be connected to GTD's geothermal energy in the first phase of the project. The grid can also use other sustainable heat sources in the future.

Geothermal energy Delft enters new phase
The Delft Geothermal Energy project can now enter a new phase with the new financial security of the awarded SDE++ subsidy. The collaborating parties, TU Delft, Aardyn, Shell and EBN can now take the next step to realise the geothermal project on the TU Delft campus. The first geothermal well is planned to be drilled by the end of 2022. The project can supply sustainable heat for the heating of buildings on the university campus from the end of 2023, and to the Voorhof and Buitenhof districts in Delft from 2024. High-quality scientific research into geothermal energy and its application will already start this year.

Supplying geothermal energy to the campus and the city is essential for GTD. The development of the heat network is part of this and can now proceed. To ensure that the heat network to the residential areas can actually be built within the framework of the decision of the housing associations, EQUANS, NetVerder and GTD have requested a contribution from the Growth Fund of the government, NieuweWarmteNu! This contribution therefore makes it possible to start building the heat network in 2023, from the source of GTD to the residential areas.

Stephan Brandligt, alderman of the Municipality of Delft: “The geothermal source and the construction of the heat network are two essential steps for the municipality on the way to a natural gas-free municipality. I am delighted that the parties involved are working together so intensively to realise a sustainable heat supply for Delft. With the final financial support from the government, I am convinced that this will be successful.”

Sustainable heat for campus and city
The combination of research and heat supply is special. Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus and President of the TU Delft Executive Board: “GTD is a unique project in many respects. Our campus will soon use a sustainable heat source, and in a later phase, this will also apply to residential areas in Delft. It is simultaneously a research and education facility of national importance. The collaboration between our researchers, the business community, government and the municipality of Delft offers a unique opportunity to further develop geothermal energy from a scientific point of view, but also to use the insights for the further development of geothermal energy in a complex urban environment. And moreover, by putting geothermal into practice directly by providing visitors and residents of the campus and neighborhoods of Delft with sustainable heat. This is therefore also an important step towards a sustainable, CO₂ neutral campus and city.”

In-depth knowledge through scientific research
The use of geothermal energy is an important pillar of the energy transition to a CO₂ neutral society. Thanks to the construction of the geothermal wells on the TU Delft campus, scientists can conduct further in-depth research into the technology behind geothermal energy and make it even more sustainable.

The scientific research is carried out during the different phases of the project. For example, rock samples are collected during the drilling phase, so that scientists can take a look at the Delft subsurface. The two wells will also be equipped with a large number of sensors and monitoring stations will be placed on the surface. The sensors will allow the researchers to collect data on how the wells interact with the different rock layers of the geothermal source. In the production phase, the scientists will use this data to better understand the capabilities of geothermal systems to improve the efficiency and longevity of future projects.

Valuable lessons for future projects
To ensure that we achieve our climate goals for 2030, it is crucial that we accelerate the development and application of geothermal energy. The in-depth knowledge gained within GTD provides valuable lessons on how to optimally execute other geothermal projects in urban locations. This project is therefore essential to promote the energy transition in the Netherlands.

Geothermal energy Delft: Delft source of energy and knowledge

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