Bio-Energy Centers

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Short description

4 bio-energy district heating projects supply new neighborhoods and a swimming complex.


The municipality of Eindhoven stepped beyond the typical role of the local government to stimulate four bio-energy centers to supply warmth to neighborhoods and a swimming complex. The bio-energy centers are fueled by local slaughterhouse waste and by wood chips originating from the maintenance of green spaces in the municipality. The bio-energy centers are also equipped with seasonal aquifer thermal storage (ATES) systems.




Starting date:




Material flows

  • Inputs

  • ->
    local meat waste
  • ->
  • Outputs

  • 18 MW electricity
  • heat loss

Qualitative Analysis

Situation before

In a typical Dutch city, heat is provided in each home by natural gas, although district heat or block heating networks are increasingly prevalent. The municipality of Eindhoven conducted an energy survey in its surroundings, and was able to locate several potential sources, including the slaughterhouse waste and the green waste from private gardens, public parks, and from along roads. These energy streams have been redirected to fulfill the needs of the people in the city.


The municipality of Eindhoven looks towards distributed energy generation for sustainability. The swimming center Tongelreep was the first bio-energy center initiated by the government. The swimming center uses slaughterhouse waste from two kilometers away as an energy source for heating, and even with a surplus electricity of 13,000,000 kWh per year sold to the grid. The project manager in the government, Kastelijn, said, "We wanted local decentralized generation minimize transportation of fuel. Tongelreep supplies approximately 17 to 18,000,000 kW of green power. Of that amount, 12 to 13 million kWh go to the grid. The thermal heat release is used to heat 12.5 million liters of water in the swimming center. "

Result of project

The wood chip bio-energy centers, using pruned branches for fuel supply, heats 1,600 homes in the Meerhoven neighborhood, municipal schools, and 20,000 m² of retail space. The swimming complex bio-energy center is able to provide year-round heat for a waterpark and an olympic-sized swimming pool. All of the bio-energy centers have surplus renewable electricity, which is sold to the grid.

Advice for future developments to futher develop the trend

As a local government, the project manager warns, be sure to have a clear devision of authority and a clear goal. Also make sure every step taken comforms to market prices, do not try to be to creative in aquiring contracts on a personal basis. This makes such project very vulnerable, when one person leaves all his work will have to be redone. Also take care with 'publiek private samenwerking' (public-private partnerships) approaches in this field. The responsibilities tend to be unclear and hinder the project. Final word of advice, 'take the initiative!'

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