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Step towards  sustainable energy

From buying wind energy to putting solar panels on campus buildings, TU Delft is aiming to be energy neutral by 2050. Chris Hellinga, sustainability programme manager, chairing the new TU Delft Green Office, gives an overview of initiatives.

Adopting renewablesTU Delft will purchase offshore Dutch wind energy from electricity producer Eneco's Luchterduinen wind farm starting in January 2017. The illustration simulates the expected primary energy reducing effect of adding this green electricity to annual campus energy flows, based on 2014 figures. The electricity still comes from the grid which is supplied by a mix of energy sources with fossil fuel power plants providing the baseline, as renewables such as wind do not generate electricity continuously. The figure assumes 70% of the purchased energy really is wind generated with the rest coming from fossil fuels. The considerable space heating demand can also be tackled to reduce use of fossil fuels.

TU Delft has also installed 1.2 MW of solar panels on the roofs of the campus buildings to generate around 1 GWh per year, or around 2% of total demand. The Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering; Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science; and TU Delft Library buildings have efficient shallow geothermal energy using ground sourced heat pumps.

Energy efficiency to decrease consumptionIn 2011 the on-site combined heat and power plant (CHP) upgraded its natural gas turbines from 1.8MW to 4MW representing an estimated 5% reduction in primary energy demand.

There is also the rolling replacement within five years of existing artificial lighting and computer workstations with LED and energy saving measures. This upgrading is tricky as policy often does not align at faculty level or with a building's budget windows and existing investments.

The futureAll new build campus projects such as the new Applied Science Faculty and the PULSE building will have stand-alone high energy and sustainability performance scores. Larger initiatives involve developing and applying deep geothermal energy using existing on campus expertise to provide 25% of campus energy needs. This will tap wells deeper than 2km and connect them to the smart thermal grid to centrally distribute heat to the campus buildings in the most optimal, responsive way. A challenging overhaul is needed as the buildings have to be adjusted from high temperature heating (130-80°C) to mid temperature heating (70-40°C). The idea is to connect them to the grids and have smarter energy control and better monitoring. TU Delft will soon be able to simulate these grids with predictive control algorithms.

These projects also target integrating the campus smart thermal grid with larger regional opportunities for energy sharing and heat cascading with the port of Rotterdam, the Delfland greenhouse sector and the city of Delft: the so-called South Holland Heat Circuit. There are also plans to add a gasification plant to produce green gas and hydrogen on campus from biomass and waste.

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