Towards a more sustainable use of heat in the Province of Antwerp

A study conducted by EnergyVille indicates that the Province of Antwerp is a suitable region for extracting underground heat from aquifers. The applications are numerous: geothermal energy for example can mean cost savings for greenhouse farms. In the city of Antwerp, EnergyVille studied how surplus heat can be reused elsewhere. The excess heat of a waste management company is ideal for example to heat a nearby swimming pool.

At the request of the Antwerp Provincial Development Company (POM), EnergyVille firstly examined whether geothermal energy could benefit Antwerp greenhouse farms. Many of these companies maintain the temperature of their greenhouses using cogeneration based on gas. However, the EnergyVille study shows that geothermal energy increases efficiency and lowers production costs, provided that businesses form clusters. Such a system requires a substantial investment, the costs of which are better shared. 

In the city of Antwerp, EnergyVille also studied how the demand for and supply of heat can be sustainably coordinated. One possible solution is a heat network that diverts excess heat to places where there is a shortage. EnergyVille conducted a feasibility study at five locations in and around Antwerp, including a logistics site under construction, a public housing neighbourhood and an industrial zone. The study showed that several 'heat lines' are technically and economically feasible. Thus for example, the swimming pool at Ekeren theoretically could be heated using waste heat from the nearby waste management company Indaver. The outlook was also positive for other locations.

VITO's role

In both projects, VITO applied its expertise on preparing techno-economic feasibility studies. It mapped out supply and demand in detail and based on this, developed a theoretical assessment model. 

a swimming pool theoretically could be heated using waste heat from anearby waste management company