In May 2019, Prof. Dr. Victor Bekkers, Dean of the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (ESSB) and leading Dean of the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens (VCC), signed the ‘Green Deal Aquathermy’ on behalf of Erasmus University Rotterdam. With the Green Deal, a broad coalition aims to map out the possibilities of aquathermy, also known as the thermal energy produced from water. This partnership has resulted in new projects for researchers and those affiliated with the VCC.
The potential of aquathermy
The goal is for the Netherlands to be CO2 neutral by the year 2050. By 2030, 70% of all electricity and 27% of all energy should be generated sustainably. Additionally, two million homes should be heated sustainably by 2030. In order to achieve these ambitious goals, aquathermal energy (heated and cold) from surface and waste water can play an important role. In order for aquathermy to be successful, a number of hurdles still need to be overcome within various areas (technical, organizational, financial). To make the projects concerning aquathermy successful, the State has closed the Green Aquathermy Deal (Green Deal Aquathermy).
About the Green Aquathermy Deal
The agreement for the Green Deal Aquathermy states that "In order to maintain prosperity for future generations, it is necessary to strengthen the competition within our economy while reducing the strain placed upon the environment and the dependence on fossil energy as well as scarce resources. Creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation are essential to enable this shift towards a greener way of life. Businesses, citizens and civil society organizations are taking on a multitude of initiatives directed towards a greener economy and society. Utilizing the Green Deal Approach, the government wants to make use of these initiatives in society to their full potential to move towards green growth". The government reached the agreement for the Green Deal Aquathermy with the business community, social partners and knowledge institutes in order to be able to implement this relatively new sustainable energy technology on a larger scale.
The VCC knowledge agenda and research projects
VCC contributes to the development and implementation of the Aquathermy knowledge agenda in ways of governance and social embedding. In the context of this knowledge agenda, Dr Jitske van Popering-Verkerk of GovernEUR, affiliate of the VCC who is commissioned by the Unie van Waterschappen and STOWA, will carry out research into possible control models for aquatermy technology. With a consortium of researchers from H2Ruimte BV and DRIFT, she will develop an assessment framework for the possible roles the municipalities, provinces and water managers in aquathermy projects can adopt. This will provide insight into what to consider along with the consequences of choosing specific roles. Moreover, it can clarify which control options are available and how the aforementioned parties can play an active role in accelerating the progress of the aquathermy projects.
Dr. Jitske van Popering-Verkerk leads this project through GovernEUR, an ESSB initiative. Prof. Jurian Edelenbos, the scientific director of VCC, has been included as a governance expert within the research team.
About Vital Cities and Citizens
With the Erasmus Initiative Vital Cities and Citizens Erasmus University Rotterdam wants to help improve the quality of life in cities. In vital cities, the population can achieve their life goals through education, useful work and participation in public life. The vital city is a platform for creativity and diversity, a safe meeting place for different social groups. The researchers involved focus on one of the four sub-themes:
• Inclusive Cities and Diversity
• Resilient Cities and People
• Smart Cities and Communities
• Sustainable and Just Cities
VCC is a collaboration between Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB), Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) and International Institute of Social Studies (ISS).