WarmingUP: Innovative Sustainable Heat Collective

Collective heating systems play a major role in accelerating the sustainability of heat demand in the built environment. The aim of the WarmingUP project is to make collective heating systems reliable, sustainable and affordable for the heating transition. The WarmingUP project covers six themes, and KWR is collaborating on four of them. There is collaboration in the themes between a range of research institutes, universities, provincial and municipal authorities, and public bodies. The project is funded by RVO (MMIP) and runs from 2020 – 2022.

WarmingUP: Innovative Sustainable Heat Collective.

KWR participating in four WarmingUP themes

The energy transition is starting to gather full steam. Society at large is therefore looking for ways to make energy supplies more sustainable. One of the solutions is collective heat systems for residential areas and business parks, for example. There are many aspects that are still unclear and that merit attention, and therefore more research. The WarmingUP project is designed to resolve the main issues and implement those solutions in pilot and demonstration projects.

The project is being led by TNO. It consists of six themes focusing on the heat network, sustainable sources/storage and the integration of collective heat systems in society as a whole.

KWR in WarmingUP: working where energy and water meet

KWR focuses on the water chain, in urban environments in particular. WarmingUP fits in with KWR’s ambition to work where energy and water meet. KWR is involved in the research programme of the drinking water sector and other partners in the water chain, ‘Water in the Circular Economy’, which is directly linked to WarmingUP.

Relevant expertises for the WarmingUP project are: geohydrology, well engineering, underground water and thermal energy storage, groundwater protection, water quality, water distribution, risks, numerical optimisation and modelling, client perception & participation.

In concrete terms, KWR will focus on the following themes: KWR is leading theme 5 Underground Thermal Energy Storage (WINDOW). KWR is also making substantive contributions to the projects in theme 3 Aquathermal Energy (EVA), theme 4 Geothermal energy in the built environment (GEO2), and theme 6 Integration of collective heat systems in society as a whole.

The drinking water companies are working in the BTO-WiCE project ‘Aquathermal Energy’ on the development of energy from drinking water, which is linked to theme 3 of WarmingUP.

Objective & outcome: collective heat systems more sustainable, reliable and affordable

The implementation of WarmingUP will result in more sustainable, reliable and affordable collective heat systems. KWR is mainly contributing to the following products:

  • Instruments for determining the potential, effects and costs/benefits of aquathermal energy at the local, regional and national levels, including practical advice;
  • The expansion of the national database for shallow geothermal reservoirs with optimal well design, public seismic hazard modelling and production optimisation;
  • Underground thermal energy storage: two turnkey demonstration projects, an assessment framework for permits and instruments for potential, effects and conditions;
  • Instruments for encouraging residents, forms of organisation and financing, and decisions by municipal authorities to implement heat networks.


Piping used for the construction of a heat network.