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Combining geothermal heat with super-fast internet

The geothermal heat project Nature’s Heat in Kwintsheul is running at full speed to the satisfaction of the nine growers connected to the project. Not only heat pipes but also fiber optic cables were placed, so now they can even make use of high-speed internet. Nature’s Heat operator Paul van Schie: “More often than not, townships and cable companies don’t see the need to place fiber optic cables in the rural areas. We were able to hitch along with a cable that was placed from the town to a high-voltage tower close to here. Nature’s Heat is now the distribution station for fiber optic cable connections to a variety of connections.

Dennis Bos of CBizz tells us that the plans to put in fiber optic cables have been entertained for a while. “At the beginning of 2018, Paul came to us with the question if we could realize a collective fiber optic connection. In February we were ready to start when the needed number of clients was reached.” Dennis looks back on a fantastic project. “These types of projects are one in a million, they are quite unique. Worthy to be repeated, though a next project will need to be tailor-made again.”

100 percent uptime
Geothermic heating projects require a lot of stamina. Nature's Heat is an initiative of nine horticultural companies in Kwintsheul that, together, grow 51 hectares of tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, strelitzias, chrysanthemums, roses, and potted plants. On the 21st of March 2018, the project started. According to Paul, it was the well-executed preparations that resulted in a high-quality project. “We did have some teething problems here and there. In May the installation was turned off a few times for a software update, but we haven’t run into any big problems yet. Since May we've had a score of 100% uptime, not counting the planned pump changeover in July.”

The software was developed specially for Nature’s Heat, says Paul. The company that designed and built the above-ground installations also wrote the software. And this is very convenient, because of this you have very short lines. This party does not only do the maintenance but also the management of the installation. Every day they monitor from a distance whether or not the installation is functioning accordingly.

“The above ground installation is made of stainless steel and the design of the filter units is different than usual. Also for the de-gassing, an entirely different installation is used. Where the de-gassing normally happens in big horizontal tanks, this installation accomplishes this by using cyclones. Underpressure is created, which separates the gas. You can compare it to the drain in your sink when you pull the plug.”

No free lunch
A heat roundabout in the province of South Holland is meant to connect all the heat projects so that the optimal amount can be saved on fossil energy. “It would be great if heat pipes would be placed from Rotterdam to the Westland, but there's no such thing as a free lunch. The horticulture industry has an important part to play in the supply of electricity. I think we ought to be careful to exclude CHP from the discussion involving the closing of the gas taps. If the demand to be able to flexibly switch to the use of electricity would arise, CHPs have preference over energy from power plants. Wiebes, the Dutch Minister of Economy and Climate, wants to get rid of the use of gas. But do we then need to close down sustainable CHPs and keep coal plants open? These are the questions that you as a grower need to consider.” 

For more information:
Nature's Heat CBizz


+31(0)88 002 0200

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