Extinct volcano could provide gas-free heating for Frisian town

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A citizen’s initiative in Friesland aims to use residual heat from an extinct volcano in the Wadden Sea to set up a district heating network for some 7,000 homes in Bolsward.

The Stogef foundation hopes to win the backing of the local council to further develop the idea and make the most of the presence of the volcano, which lies between Harlingen and the island of Vlieland.

The aim is to drill into earth’s crust and pump up hot water which can then be used to produce heat for district heating systems.

“The volcano is still giving off heat,” initiator Ynze Salverda told the NRC. “And we will drill to the layer in the earth where this heat is flowing.” The higher temperature is one of the clues which led to the volcano’s discovery in 1970.

Bolsward is located some 40 kilometres from the Zuidwal volcano. “You can’t drill straight into it,” said Salverda. “And you should not get too close either because the earth there is so hot that everything turns into volcanic glass.

A spokesman for the local council Súdwest Fryslân, which covers Bolsward, told the NRC that councillors still have to decide if the concept fits with the town’s own plan to boost sustainability.

District heating schemes using geothermal heat are a growth industry in the Netherlands, as the use of natural gas is phased out.

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