Ameland wants to be the leader in the field of sustainable energy in 2020. GasTerra is participating in two projects on the island
The island is putting a lot of effort in sustainable energy (it already has the largest solar park of the Netherlands), and GasTerra is participating in two projects promoting a CO2-neutral heat supply for the built environment.
Hans Overdiep, energy transition manager at GasTerra, has been involved in Duurzaam Ameland [Sustainable Ameland] from the start. He actually moved to Ameland for the project. This means that he is really 'on top' of the energy transition process taking place on the island. The projects on Ameland that GasTerra is focussing on all revolve around gas, which should not be a surprise. “As a stakeholder in the Duurzaam Ameland project, I have consultations with many different parties. Also with parties which would love to get rid of gas today. In our eyes, this is not a wise move. The infrastructure is there, and we should continue using it, as huge investments were made at the time. But we do agree that we should move towards more green gas, more heat pumps and, therefore, less natural gas."
Hybrid heat pump
One of the Ameland projects on which GasTerra is focussing is the hybrid water pump: a small electrical heat pump combined with a gas-fired high-performance boiler. “These hybrid heat pumps make very efficient use of the outside air to heat your home. But when it is very cold outside, this becomes impossible. Then, the high-performance boiler kicks in, which also provides hot water. A hybrid heat pump reduces the use of natural gas by up to 70% on an annual basis. And if the electricity for the heat pump is generated in a CO2-neutral manner, the CO2-reduction can be up to 70%.”
As a pilot, around thirty rental properties, owned by the municipality of Ameland, will be fitted with a hybrid heat pump. “We are now trying to get the private market on the island on board. The government also provides subsidies on the purchase of heat pumps, and GasTerra wants to contribute financially, to expedite the roll-out of this transition technique.”
In addition to hybrid heat pumps, GasTerra also supports the generation of green gas on Ameland. By fermenting sewage sludge green gas can be generated, which can then be used to heat homes. This project is in the early stages, and a test is currently being carried out at EnTranCe, the Energy Transition Centre in Groningen. At that centre, sludge from the sewage treatment plant is fermented under high pressure (20 bar), to separate the CO2 from the methane, which can then be directly injected into the gas distribution network. We want to scale up this high-pressure fermentation process on Ameland. The combination of a hybrid heat pump and green gas is the most efficient way to make the built environment CO2-neutral in the future.”
The high-pressure fermentation system offers more advantages: if solar energy generates more electricity on the island than required, this sustainable electricity can be converted to green gas. “Through a process of electrolysis, hydrogen can be created. In the high-pressure fermentation process, this hydrogen reacts with CO2, creating green gas. This is a clever collaboration between the different sustainable projects, and a great way to store renewable energy in a gaseous form.”
Duurzaam Ameland is a collaboration between the municipality of Ameland, Eneco, GasTerra, NAM and Phillips. The parties develop sustainable energy innovations, which are tested on Ameland.