Heat networks

Viable option in the heating transition?

The construction of heat networks requires a process in which governments, the private sector as well as consumers (private, business community) are on board. In this process, they must be able to rely on independent and reliable information to support decision-making. Witteveen+Bos has the expertise to generate this data at different scales.

The heating transition plays a crucial role in the process of making the built environment more sustainable. Eventually, fossil source will need to give way to climate-neutral heat sources. One option is to set up heat/cold networks based on renewable energy.

Whether a heat network is a feasible option from a technical-economic perspective depends on several factors. For instance: does the supply of renewable heat suffice? Do residents need a heat network?

Defining and calculating the value chain

We can define and calculate the value chain of a heat network. For example, we have conducted RES-level studies on the heat potential of geothermal energy and aquifer thermal energy to renewable energy sources for a heat network. Such studies can be conducted at different scales, such as at district level to the waste heat from a data centre or a WWTP.

Another promising option is UTES (Underground Thermal Energy Storage), in which geothermal heat is stored in and recovered from aquifers. We have conducted feasibility studies in this area, including in South Korea. Based on these studies, policymakers and consumers/users will gain insight into supply, including in the longer term. This is crucial for the purpose of delivery reliability and underpinning a business case with a view to infrastructure investments.


Besides mapping the supply potential, we also study whether the homes/buildings of potential consumers are suitable to be connected to a heat network. For older buildings, low insulation values play a role, requiring additional investments on the user side.

Witteveen+Bos also provides its services in the design phase of large-scale heat infrastructure, for example as engineers of heat transfer stations in Leiden and Delft.

More information?