Thermal energy from drinking water and sewerage water

Heating is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Using sources of heat from the environment instead of burning fossil fuels will reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses. Drinking water and sewerage networks are potential sinks and sources of thermal energy for sustainable space cooling and heating of buildings. An application of the SIMDEUM® model is to predict the input of thermal energy into the sewer network and to assess the impact of a heat extraction from the drinking water network.

Water use profiles from SIMDEUM drive the waterflows in drinking water and sewerage systems. For heat extracting from sewerage water, these data are used in combination with a heat balance add-on (developed by KWR and Deltares) for the sewer model SOBEK (Deltares). In this way, the heat recovery potential from sewer networks can be predicted and the optimal location of the heat exchangers can be determined. The model is verified experimentally in Amsterdam and used for case studies in Almere (Danswijk) and on the University of Bath campus.

Similarly the water flows in the drinking water network can be used to assess the impact and potential for heat extraction from drinking water network.

Temperature measurements in the sewer by an optical fibre cable.

Temperature measurements in the sewer by an optical fibre cable.


Measured and predicted temperature of sewage on the University of Bath Campus.