05 August 2023, by Victoria Séveno

A new project launched by the Friesland-based Stogef initiative aims to use the heat from an extinct volcano located off the coast of the Netherlands to heat homes and buildings in the city of Bolsward.

Dutch project to use extinct Zuidwal volcano to heat homes

Stichting Ontwikkeling Geothermie Friesland – or Stogef for short – is a citizens’ initiative aiming to explore other, more sustainable energy sources, specifically ultra-deep geothermal power, to heat homes in the Netherlands. In the long term, the foundation hopes geothermal energy can help replace natural gas and work in harmony with the current solar and wind power infrastructure. 

As part of the plans, Stogef is looking to redirect the heat from the Zuidwal volcano – an extinct volcano located deep under the Wadden Sea, off the coast of the Netherlands – into homes. “The volcano is still radiating heat. That could be an opportunity to see if we can use that in a useful way,” Ynze Salverda, a member of the Stogef technical, told NRC.

It’s taken years of work but Salverda’s plan to pump geothermal heat from the volcano into homes is now taking shape. Working closely with the local municipality, Stogef is optimistic that the plan will allow those living in the area to know they can heat their home at an affordable price, without having to rely on gas. “Residents [in Bolsward] should already be able to see the first developments in the next few years,” Salverda says.

Using geothermal power as a sustainable alternative to gas

As Salverda explains, the 150-million-year-old Zuidwal volcano still emits heat – but extracting this heat can’t be done by simply drilling into the volcano. Instead, water must be pumped into a well located several kilometres underground, where it heats to a temperature of around 90 degrees. This warm water is then pumped back up to ground level where the heat is extracted before the cold water is sent back underground to start the whole process again. 

The heat extracted from the water can then be distributed to buildings in the area via the so-called Green Heat Network Bolsward. According to the Stogef website, “the heat output of an average deep well corresponds to the heat demand of about 5.000 homes.” 

Thumb image credit: Steve Photography / Shutterstock.com.

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