Thermal energy from surface water

What is TEO?

Thermal energy from surface water

Thermal energy from surface water is the variant of aquathermy with the greatest energetic potential in the Netherlands. With so much water around us, the question is whether the surrounding water is suitable as a source of heat for the project that comes to mind. Indeed, TEO can provide 150 PJ of heat, which is 40% of the future heat demand in the Netherlands (CE Delft & Deltares 2018).

How does TEO work?

The temperature of surface water changes throughout the seasons. In summer the water warms up to about 25 degrees and in winter the water cools down to 5 about degrees. In summer, this makes surface water very suitable as a source of heat. This is because the temperature then is a lot higher than at TEA or TED. In winter, the water is colder and cold can be stored for cooling. TEO is often applied with heat and cold storage in the ground. This stores heat in the summer that can be used for heating in the winter. TEO is also always applied in combination with heat pumps. Here one can choose between a collective heat pump or an individual heat pump in each house. When homes can be heated at low temperature, it is an option to leave the heat network at low temperature and continue heating the domestic hot water in the home. If the homes are insufficiently insulated, then a high-temperature heat grid is often the best option financially as an alternative to natural gas.

The amount of heat that can be harvested in the summer depends on the surface of the water or the flow in the water. With a river, a lot of heat can be extracted because new water is constantly flowing in. With standing water such as a ditch, canal or lake, the same water must be used. When the water is cooled by heat extraction, it remains in the stagnant surface water and warms up again due to natural weather conditions such as solar irradiation. The temperature of surface water also fluctuates daily/weekly. Heat extraction can locally decrease the temperature, this is similar to the natural daily/weekly fluctuations.

Feasibility and potential to extract heat from surface water.

More research is needed for each specific situation for the feasibility and potential of the water as a source for aquathermy. A good starting point for investigating the aquathermy potential in your area is the STOWA-Viewer. This viewer gives a large margin of uncertainty, so it is still good to investigate what the actual potential will be. Ekwadraat has developed a mathematical model to calculate the potential of aquathermy of all locations in the Netherlands. The method for determining the influence of TEO on the water temperature has been worked out in a mathematical model. Want to read more about our calculation model? Click here!

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