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Lessons learned from aquathermal projects


Aquathermal energy is a promising technology to generate sustainable heat. Many municipalities are developing plans for the extraction of heat from surface water. After all, aquathermal energy has the advantage that there are fewer problems with grid congestion, such as with sustainable energy extracted from wind and sun.

This article highlights the 'lessons learned' and tips when setting up aquathermal projects.

Lessons Learned
In practice, important lessons have been learned when collecting information for aquathermal projects:

  • Start by gathering basic information from public data sources, but realize that this is not always enough to answer all questions.
  • Internal data sources from involved parties may contain valuable information, but this information may need to be modified to be suitable for sharing.
  • Organizations use their own "data architecture", which can complicate data exchange.
  • Retrieving information from internal data sources can take more time than expected. This underlines the importance of looking ahead to potential future questions and setting up an efficient information collection strategy.

These are the four tips based on these practical lessons.

Tip 1: The project team determines the information needs per phase
Many parties participate in research into the feasibility and implementation of an aquathermal project. Consider: project leaders within the municipality, the regional energy company, the Province and the water board. This team must be able to assess the opportunities and threats of the project. To make this assessment, several types of information are needed. This information is located in countless places in the information systems of the parties involved and in the minds of people. Ideally, the project team determines at an early stage per phase which questions need answers and what information is needed and available for this.

Tip 2. Use an independent project information platform
It is important to ensure that the information can be shared between the parties. An effective approach is to share the information needed for the project via an independent project information platform. This saves the parties involved the need to open their own information platform to external parties, while they remain responsible for the quality and timeliness of the shared information.

Tip 3: Link available sources
Make agreements about the “data architecture” on the project information platform to enable data linking. It is useful to start with basic information from public data sources. Please note that information from internal data sources of the parties involved may need to be processed to make it suitable for sharing with each other. Many information systems have their own “data architecture”. Retrieving data from internal sources often takes more time than expected.

Tip 4: Appoint an Information Manager
The members of the project team determine in mutual consultation what information is required per project phase. It is advisable to appoint an information manager who, on behalf of the project team, investigates from which source(s) the information can be obtained. It may also happen that on-site research is necessary.

Gathering information for aquathermal projects in cities is a challenging task that requires the collaboration of various stakeholders. By learning from the 'lessons learned' and by following a structured approach, the chain and transition partners can realize successful aquathermal projects. Sharing information via an independent project information platform appears to be an effective way to centralize and share information, while ensuring quality and timeliness. Anticipating future information needs and efficiently collecting and sharing data are crucial steps towards sustainable aquathermal solutions for cities.

Would you like to know more about our lessons learned?

Please contact Aart van der Vlist, aart@sblc.nl

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