NCBE: chairmen and lecturers

Keynote speaker

We are proud to announce that the keynote speaker of the NCBE is Reinier Koppelaar (Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat) !
Reinier is the deputy director of energy market and management team member of collective heat at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

During his presentation he will give an outline of the role of sustainable heat sources in our future energy system. The expected growth of collective heating systems and the sustainability of heating networks creates a growing need for sustainable sources, including geothermal energy. System integration and flexibility become indispensable aspects to strengthen the energy system instead of placing an additional burden on it, which is why we see a major role for large-scale heat storage such as ATES and HTS. The government is committed to creating the right conditions for the development of sustainable sources, but this growth will only succeed with good cooperation with the market and the sector’s commitment to, among other things, reducing costs and scaling up.


Ruud Schotting will be the chair of this edition of the NCBE!

Ruud’s career began in 1980 at the Laboratory for Soil Mechanics (LGM) in Delft (now part of Deltares). Which is the same year the first ATES system was commissioned in the Province of Groningen. Since then, the number of open systems in the Netherlands has increased to approximately 2600. Although Ruud recently retired, the use of the subsurface for thermal energy storage via ATES and high-temperature storage (HTS), and energy production through geothermal energy, fortunately continues. Its growth is far from over! This growth comes with large potential but also has its own challenges.


Phil Vardon will be the moderator for the “Geothermal Energy” session!

Phil Vardon is the professor of energy-geomechanics at TU Delft. He leads the scientific programme of the Delft campus geothermal project, which is targeting to be a comprehensive urban heating system supplying 25 MW of thermal energy in the urban environment. This system comprises a deep geothermal doublet which was drilled in 2023, a shallow high temperature aquifer thermal energy storage system which has recently had a pilot well drilled, an ultra-deep monitoring borehole and an extensive monitoring system.

Phil’s background is in multi-physics of geomaterials, and he has applied this in both numerical and field studies and in a range of topics covering geo-energy, radioactive waste disposal and flood defenses. He currently focuses on a variety of different geothermal energy technologies. He holds MEng and PhD degrees from Cardiff University in the UK, and moved to TU Delft in 2012 where in 2023, he was appointed as professor.

Hans Bolscher will be the moderator for the ‘Subsurface Energy’ session!

Hans is a Dutch economist and senior consultant in the field of climate, (renewable) energy, and innovation. Over the years, he has held managerial positions in both the public and private sectors. He is the former Director for Climate and Industry at the Ministry of Environment of the Dutch government and was Director of CCS at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In addition to his advisory and commissary roles, he has served as a board member for several profit and non-profit organizations and has been the chair of the vibrant Dutch Geothermal Association (GeothermieNL) for the past three years.


On the 4th of July, Niels Hartog from KWR will be speaking on dealing with the thermal impact and brine leakage risks of geothermal wells: towards groundwater impact monitoring!

Due to their higher temperature than the surrounding groundwater, heat loss from geothermal wells thermally impacts the surrounding shallow groundwater. In addition, contamination of groundwater by leakage of geothermal brine is a risk to consider. To prevent unintended negative impacts on groundwater, an effective and efficient combination of prevention, groundwater impact monitoring and available mitigation measures is required. To develop and support such an approach, sufficient understanding of the factors and processes involved is key. Here, the recently expanded insights from numerical experiments on the thermal impact and that of accidental leakages will be presented including recent field monitoring observations. This will be discussed along with implications for groundwater impact monitoring as a part of the responsible and safe development of geothermal heat production in the Netherlands.

Hans van Hateren from VHGM will talk at the NCBE about policymaking for efficient use of aquifer capacity!

Aquifer thermal energy storage (ATES) and borehole thermal energy storage (BTES) are techniques to seasonally store thermal energy in- and extract thermal energy from the subsurface. They form a vital part of the Dutch energy transition, but also one that requires a broad
knowledge, longer-term planning and adequate policy making to be used successfully. In this talk we will first introduce the operating principles of these forms of energy storage to provide context for the subsequent material.
The spatial and vertical distribution of ATES and BTES can strongly impact system performance and how efficiently the available aquifer capacity is used. This, in turn, depends on the existing above-ground building types, the layout of newly built neighbourhoods and the vision and actions of policy makers to bring about collective energy solutions or support individual solutions. Policy makers of municipalities and the province can therefore have a large impact on the short- and long-term success of ATES/ BTES in the energy transition. We will show geospatial tooling to support effective policymaking, discuss the impact of policy decisions and give guidelines for effective policymaking, all directed to sensible, cost-effective
and ‘fair’ use of ATES and BTES.

Loes Buijze from TNO will speak about whether geothermal energy production in the Netherlands could lead to fault reactivation and induced seismicity.

Geothermal energy production in the Netherlands is foreseen to increase over the coming decade, from a heat production of 6.8 PJ in 2021 to 11 – 15 PJ in 2030. One relevant question nowadays is whether geothermal operations can lead to induced seismic events, such as those seen in relationship to hydrocarbon production. No seismic events of magnitudes large enough to be felt have been recorded so far near geothermal operations. Geothermal operations in the Netherlands involve balanced circulation between two or three wells through porous sandstone formations at 2 – 3 km depth; similar sandstone formations as those hosting hydrocarbon plays. However, the operational aspects and mechanisms of stress changes and fault r reactivation are different compared to those active during hydrocarbon production. For geothermal energy production, it is thought cooling of the rock is the dominant mechanism for stress changes and fault reactivation, in conjunction with the pre-production tectonic stress field. In this talk we introduce geothermal energy production in the Netherlands and summarize the latest insight on the in-situ stress distribution, the expected stress changes around geothermal injection wells, and what this implies for future geothermal energy production.

Benno Schepers from CE Delft will speak at the NCBE about how to weigh the societal costs and benefits of geothermal energy!

Sustainably heating and cooling buildings has more effects than just a difference in the energy bill. In addition to these direct effects, there are also indirect and external effects. These include impacts on employment, climate effects, heat and noise effects, and the influence on the soil. Through a societal cost-benefit analysis (SCBA), it is possible to systematically compare all these effects. This provides an integrated view of heating and cooling technologies, allowing for a comparison of apples to oranges.
In this presentation, he will delve into how an SCBA can be performed for different heating and cooling systems in the built environment. The goal is to provide both initiators and policymakers with a better understanding of the societal value of geothermal energy systems in various cases. Based on this, an informed choice can be made for the ‘best’ technology, considering a broad scope of direct, indirect, and external effects.

Koenraad Elewaut from Ministerie van Economische Zaken en Klimaat will speak on the 4th of July about geothermal policy in the Netherlands – a complicated jigsaw puzzle!

Geothermal energy plays an important role in the energy transition. It offers the possibility of supplying vast amounts of sustainable heat for a relatively low energy consumption. As such it not only offers the possibility of sustainable heating but play an important role in limiting the stress on the electricity grid. The development of geothermal energy is however not trivial, and many issues can hold back development. Heat is a particularly local resource which is not easy to transport, so the roll out of communal heating networks is a requirement for geothermal development. Also, the investment costs are high, and there is always the risk posed by uncertainty in the subsurface which could result in unsuccessful drilling of wells. Furthermore there are concerns not only when it comes to the risk of seismicity, but also potential impact on other usage of the subsurface such as the important drinking water reserves.
The Netherlands has set itself the goal of producing at least 15 PJ of sustainable heat from geothermal sources by 2030, but we are far from that target today. If we are to achieve our goals we need to ensure the conditions are set to enable growth. These conditions expand beyond the scope of mining law and policy, as is evident from the importance of communal heating networks to the development of geothermal resources, indicating that a broad stimulation and policy development is of great importance.

Alexander van Noort from Ennatuurlijk Aardwarmte will give a talk at the NCBE about high temperature storage: operational experiences in Middenmeer!

Ennatuurlijk Aardwarmte operates a high-temperature storage system (HTS) in Middenmeer in combination with geothermal energy for greenhouse horticulture. A surplus of heat in the summer is stored underground and extracted again in the winter when the demand for heat is greater. In this way, the HTS works as a buffer that compensates for the imbalance between heat demand and supply. Alexander presents about the operation and value of the HTS, the heating system and monitoring of effects on the subsurface.

Adriaan Janszen from Energie Beheer Nederland will speak at the NCBE about the Dutch SCAN Geothermal Exploration Campaign: from seismic data to wells!

A limiting factor to the broader development of geothermal projects in the Netherlands is the fact that the subsurface data is not evenly distributed; seismic & well data coverage is poor in roughly half of the country, including major residential and industrial areas with high heat demand.
EBN and TNO-AGE embarked on a geothermal exploration program (SCAN: ‘Seismische Campagne Aardwarmte Nederland’) in 2017 to acquire additional subsurface data to decrease subsurface uncertainty.
The SCAN program is focused on three data acquisition activities, namely: the reprocessing of existing 2D seismic data, the acquisition of regional 2D seismic data and the drilling of data acquisition wells.
In the Netherlands, a large number of hydrocarbon exploration wells were drilled from the 1950’s to the end of the 1980’s, when it came to a halt because it became clear that in nearly half of the Netherlands the conditions for oil and gas accumulations were not favourable. Some of this existing seismic data has been reprocessed.
However, not all information required for assessing the viability of new geothermal projects can be derived from seismic data alone. For this reason, the SCAN program has received a budget for drilling 5 to 10 data-acquisition wells.
In this contribution we describe the aims, design and planning of the SCAN programme, give a high-level description of lessons learned and results achieved so far and discuss future activities.

Jan-Diederik Van Wees from Utrecht University will speak at the NCBE about innovation-ecosystems for acceleration of geothermal energy and underground storage: results from WarmingUP (GOO)!

The NCBE will end with a discussion panel in which Jorien van der Wal from Staatstoezicht op de Mijnen (SodM) and Matsen Broothaers from VITO will be participating!

Jorien van der Wal is a senior inspector seismic risk management at SodM.
The Dutch State Supervision of Mines (Staatstoezicht op de Mijnen; SodM) is the government authority in the Netherlands that focuses on safety of people and protection of the environment in relation to (subsurface) mining operations, not only now but also in the future. As part of this task SodM both advises the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy on the safety aspects of all deep subsurface activities in the Netherlands, and ensures those activities are done in a safe manner.
Geothermal energy production is an up and coming industry in the Netherlands, which has required new regulations to be designed and different (causes of) risks to be taken into account. At every step of the way, SodM considers: is this safe? What are potential risks of a specific activity and can those risks be mitigated, and if so, what would be the best way to do so?
In this talk, Jorien will introduce the roles and responsibilities of SodM, and will elaborate on the considerations made when advising and supervising geothermal energy projects in the Netherlands.

Matsen Broothaers has been working on VITO’s geothermal project at the Balmatt site in Mol since 2010 where he was closely involved in the environmental permit application for the geothermal project in Mol.
VITO launched the development of its geothermal facilities in Mol end 2009 on the assumption that deep geothermal energy can make an important contribution to the energy transition in Flanders. Therefore, the project should provide information and data on the reservoir properties and geothermal potential of the Lower Carboniferous Limestone Group and on the technical and economic feasibility of deep geothermal energy in Flanders. Additionally, it should highlight the challenges and potential for the development of deep geothermal energy in Flanders and neighboring regions.
Although the project generated important data on e.g., the Lower Carboniferous reservoir, the chemical composition and NORM-content of the formation fluid, induced seismicity, the environmental impact of deep geothermal and the viability of geothermal heat delivery, VITO did not yet succeed in running the plant at its design capacity. The main question about the plant’s operability is the seismic activity during the extraction of geothermal heat. Since the start of the heat production, two felt earthquakes were recorded. These two seismic events resulted in a red-light situation according to the traffic light safety procedures and requested for a shut-down of the operations and an in-depth analysis of the situation. Based on the current understanding and after consultation with multiple partners VITO identified actions to reduce this seismic risk.

Myria Ioannou (Utrecht University) and Herman Velvis (IF Technology) will give a talk about district ATES in today’s energy systems and give a guided tour of the ATES grid of Utrecht University!

Myria Ioannou is an Energy Asset Manager and a key player in the energy monitoring of the energy systems at the Utrecht Science Park, with focus on ATES systems.
Herman Velvis is a Technical consultant and has played an important role in the design of several ATES and heat pump installations at the Utrecht Science Park.

Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) systems play a key role in the energy transition our energy systems are going through at the moment, and that’s what we will focus on in this presentation! Our presentation will walk you through the conference building (Victor J. Koningsberger Building), to the District ATES (DATES) grid of Utrecht University with the end point being the underground wells where the energy is stored. During this short
presentation, we will explore DATES from an energy systems perspective and reveal how DATES-systems signify a major leap forward in heating and cooling technologies. We will talk about the building-side of an ATES-system as well as the grid and how this technology is applied up and working in the USP-area for the last 2 decades. How do these systems work? What is the role of DATES? How has it performed in recent years? How does the future of these systems and their importance look like? Are they also used in other areas or is Utrecht Science Park unique on this area 😉? We will touch the current electricity grid topics, such as prosumers, load-balancing, congestion and energy pricing and their relation to ATES-systems.

As you might conclude, we won’t be digging into the ground but from our seat we will explore the potential of DATES-systems in today’s energy transition!