Delft geothermal project could be milestone for the Netherlands

Delft geothermal project could be milestone for the Netherlands Delft University - Elektro Delft (Soruce: Flickr, CC, By: Eelke)
Francisco Rojas 5 Feb 2015

The Delft Aardwarmte Project will entail the drilling of a deep geothermal well at TU Delft with which the campus buildings can be heated in a sustainable way.

The Delft Aardwarmte Project (DAP) will provide a unique and promising opportunity for the development of geothermal energy in The Netherlands, says prof. David Bruhn in his inaugural speech at TU Delft on Wednesday, February 4th. DAP will entail the drilling of a deep geothermal well at TU Delft with which the campus buildings can be heated in a sustainable way. Such a well will also provide all kinds of research opportunities.

Deep wells

‘Geothermal resources have gained increased attention in the Netherlands in the recent past, as we strive to reduce CO2 emissions without jeopardizing our standard of living and energy prices. In particular, residential heating and the greenhouse farming sector are in the position to profit from this ubiquitous source of heat. In The Netherlands geothermal energy will mean the use of hot water that is harvested at great depths, of 2000 meter and more. Such deep wells are already in use in the Dutch greenhouse farming sector. The subsurface of the Netherlands is well mapped and explored, such that the exploitation of geothermal heat can be tackled with some confidence’, says Bruhn, professor in Geothermal Engineering at TU Delft and project manager of several geothermal EU-projects at the GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ) in Potsdam, the largest Earth Science research institution in Germany.


In his inaugural speech Bruhn will mainly talk about the possibilities of DAP (Delft Aardwarmte Project), a promising geothermal research project on the campus of the TU Delft. DAP was delayed last year when the government put the involvement of EBN (Energie Beheer Nederland) on hold until further notice.
The Delft Aardwarmte Project, or DAP, was initiated in 2008 by students at TU Delft. The goal is to realise a geothermal well on campus, so that the university buildings can be heated in a sustainable way. Furthermore, such a well doublet (one well for the production of hot water and one to reinject the cooled water) on the campus will provide all kinds of research opportunities. ‘A new and challenging theme is the harvesting of heat at depths of more than 4000 meters. At these depths the water is so hot (150° C) that it can be used for the generation of electricity.’

Research infrastructure

‘There are a few technical roadblocks inhibiting the rapid development of the sector’, says Bruhn. ‘To help unlock the huge potential of geothermal energy, we propose a dedicated research infrastructure to study subsurface properties, both prior to and during operations. The deep geothermal wells to be drilled on the campus of TU Delft will provide an excellent opportunity and location for the installation of a national infrastructure for the investigation of the deep subsurface, primarily – but not exclusively – for geothermal development and operations. There is no comparable infrastructure in the world allowing subsurface monitoring during operations in a sedimentary environment. In addition, the location of the wells in a densely populated area, close to the end-user, provides the opportunity to develop and test technical solutions to related issues such as noise emissions, interference with other subsurface installations and other factors affecting public acceptance.’


‘The milestones that will be achieved with our research facility are of great relevance for the young geothermal industry developing in the Netherlands, including greenhouse farmers, who represent one of the key industries of the country. The development of geothermal energy is also beneficial for society as a whole, as it supplies heat and potentially electricity with virtually no CO2 emissions, available around the clock and all year round.
The geothermal research infrastructure in the deep well, with the novel equipment and installations would be unique in the world and will provide the basis for a major step in the development of the field.’

Source: Delft University