Heerlen, The Netherlands

The City of Heerlen

Heerlen is a city and a municipality in the southeast of the Netherlands. It is part of the Parkstad Limburg city-region, which encompasses eight municipalities and has a population of almost 250,000 people. Heerlen was once a coal-mining town, with a large percentage of the inhabitants involved in the industry. Following the cessation of coal mining activities, the disused mines were flooded and are now used to provide heat to Heerlen’s residents.

The Heerlen Demonstrator

The Mijnwater demonstrator in Heerlen includes an existing neutral-temperature DHC network, which is under expansion. The network exploits a large underground seasonal storage than can accumulate energy up to 30°C. The district heating network consists of a 2-pipe system with a hot and cold pipe for distribution, exchange and storage energy.

The main neutral-temperature network operates at 25-28 °C for the warm pipes and 16-18°C for the cold pipes. The buildings connected to the existing neutral temperature DHC network use decentralised water-source heat pumps to adjust the temperature to the required level. The main source is warm and cold water stored in flooded mines. Excess heat from data centers, supermarkets, and space cooling is also exploited.

The aim of the demonstrator is to install and test an inter-day, large-scale (20,000m3), underground central storage tank, capable of exploiting industrial waste heat.