As one of the largest district heating projects in the Netherlands, Purmerend shows how a corroded and under-capacitated network, suffering from heavy leakages and energy losses, could be re-engineered in a smart solution that is sustainable, reliable and highly valued by its users. Thanks to the close cooperation of Thermaflex and Stadsverwarming Purmerend (SVP), the local district heating supplier, 25,000 users so far can benefit from affordable heat and potable water.
The district-heating network in Purmerend is situated in an area with a high ground water level, so the old steel pipes of the district heating network suffered heavily from the corrosion that resulted from this, and its damage to the insulation. This emphasized the need to switch to plastic pipes. Purmerend also wanted to make the district-heating network sustainable, yet economical. They wanted to be prepared for the future, when they would like to use biomass and geothermal energy for heating purposes. Their major problem: connections located in difficult crawling spaces underneath the houses where Dutch legislation does not even allow for steel welding.
In May 2010 a newly engineered network was designed with a reduced need for materials, time and labor, using our flexible, pre-insulated Flexalen pipes with easy house connections (Flexalink). The situation in Purmerend was complex. With the new approach, Slimnet, everything was calculated accurately and every step taken with care. A pilot project was started, and quickly persuaded both the municipality and SVP that Flexalink was the best possible solution for Purmerend. In 5 years time, 4,000 houses were connected to the district-heating network. The switch to green, clean energy was made in cooperation with the National Forestry Commission for the supply of biomass. Starting from 2014, they have provided 100,000 tons of woodchips per year for the production of clean, sustainable heat. This way, 80% of the users will be supplied by sustainable heat, saving 50,000 tons of CO2.
4,000 homes reconnected
50,000 tonsof CO2 saved
84% cut in unplanned maintenance
50% cut in water supply
10% cut in heat loss
33 steady jobs created
A fast renovation was needed to keep the downtime of the heating/hot water supply short. Speed and space conditions were crucial to keep the disturbances to a minimum for the local government and the residents of Purmerend. The existing district heating network in Purmerend failed to meet the performance demands, so the focus was laid on improving heat loss and securing a full-proof and hassle-free district heating network.
An exceptionally fast connection of about 4,000 houses meant there was very little disturbance for the local residents. Initially, they had been particularly sceptical due to the earlier issues with the network, but ultimately they were positive and grateful of the renovation project once the results became clear.
Precise pre-fabrication per section made it particularly easy for the installer to plan the implementation and reduce time and space requirements. Complaints quickly dropped and the maintenance scheme of the network drastically changed, as maintenance was minimized.
Main advantages for SVP:
Ambitious renovation targets were met, due to high-speed house connections with minimal disturbance, leading to positive end-user response
Installation staff trained by Thermaflex
Reduced impact on the environment due to rapid installation
Long term reliable performance due to prefabrication and factory pressure tests
Our additional contribution:
Joint development of a renovation concept avoiding open flame connections in the crawl spaces
Development of a high speed installation concept
Tailor-made Flexalink for quick, easy, and secure house connections
Installation trainings/on site supervision for pipe installers