Mine water energy is an essential component of the 2040 renewable energy master plan to achieve the desired objectives with regard to energy savings and CO2 emission reductions in the municipality of Heerlen. It is also included in the Parkstad Limburg Energy Transition (PALET) statement of ambition for the Parkstad Limburg region.
In 2012 a totally new concept (Minewater 2.0) was developed. The concept is based on:
• Energy exchange instead of energy supply
• Energy storage and buffering in mine water reservoirs rather than
extraction to the point of exhaustion
• Addition of multiple passive energy generation sources to the system
• Maximizing the hydraulic and thermal capacity
(reservoirs, wells, and distribution network)
• A fully automatic, demand-driven system (capacity to
deliver heating and cooling water at any time)
Fully-fledged thermal ‘smart grid’ for delivery of heating and cooling water
A fully-fledged thermal ‘smart grid’ for delivery of heating and cooling water with a sustainable hybrid energy infrastructure has now been developed. This includes an independent pipe network to deliver both heating and cooling water to the connected clients. Transfers of residual heating and cooling capacity from incoming return water to other outgoing pipes takes place in underground exchange stations equipped with heat exchangers and pumps. In this Minewater 2.0 system the water in the mines, whether warm or cold, now just serves as a storage reservoir – a kind of battery. The most important element of the system is now the exchange of heating and cooling capacity between businesses and lessors of residential and commercial buildings.
By incorporating ‘intelligence’ into our utilization of the residual return capacity, by taking the time factor into consideration, we can tune the system to customer demand. So then all that is required is energy for the pumps. This makes it possible to achieve enormous performance yields. A business case shows that it can be economically viable and, moreover, decentralized energy generators, such as solar thermal (solar panels) can be connected to the system.
Growth of Mijnwater B.V.
The decision to create Mijnwater B.V. was taken in 2013. The municipality of Heerlen is a large shareholder in Mijnwater B.V. To continue to grow, new customers are necessary and new investments will be needed. The aim is to provide sufficient mine water energy for a total of 800,000 m2 of indoor space by 2018. This will enable the connected buildings to reduce their CO2 emissions by 65%.