HEAT AND CO2 - Rotterdam

Heat and CO2 is an urban strategy concerning Rotterdam Metabolism. Two projects are identified that are capable of taking better advantage of the residual productions of energy generation.


In order to reduce the waste heat and the excess production of CO2, it is important to make better use of the by-products of industrial processes and the generation of electricity. Expanding the existing network to form a heat network on the scale of the South Wing of the Randstad agglomeration, will lead to a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions and in energy consumption by households. This network, in the first decades fueled by these fossil industries, are ready for a more sustainable form of heat from geothermal sources. Another measure for reducing CO2 emissions is the expansion of the CO2 network that collects the emissions from power plants and supplies these to horticulture or stores them underground.

Heat network + geothermal heat: the introduction of a heat network on the scale of the South Wing makes the individual production of heat by many businesses and households unnecessary. This not only means enormous savings in energy production, but also a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions. By linking the heat network to geothermal heat, a very stable network is created that can be developed in both a centralized and a decentralized way via ‘heat hubs’. This also makes optimal use of the location of Rotterdam in a unique geothermal heat zone.

Organic Carbon dioxide for Assimilation of Plants: a start has already been made on linking
demand for CO2 to supply. The Organic Carbon dioxide for Assimilation of Plants project (OCAP) links CO2 production from the port to those requesting CO2 in areas with greenhouses, using a new and disused gas pipelines. As the supply of CO2 outstrips demand, an important addition to the project is the storage of CO2 in the ground, a process known as Carbon Capture Storage (CCS). The many empty gas and oil fields at the bottom of the North Sea can be used for this purpose. They can be accessed relatively easily using pipelines from Rotterdam.

The varied demand at neighborhood level and the presence of geothermal heat bring opportunities for creating a heating network that is stabilized by a grid of heat hubs. A smart grid for heat and cold is being worked towards with several suppliers and customers. What are known as temperature islands or (same temperature) heat zones can also be made, depending on the needs of the district. Rotterdam can also give substance to its sustainability ambitions by including more sustainable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, in its energy mix.

Heat hubs: heat hubs form the couplings between residual heat from the port and geothermal
heat at depths of 2 and 4 km. The hubs also control the cascading of the various demands for heat from the immediate environment. This means an extension to the technical facility already used in Rotterdam South. The new version of the heat hub also has a public function with innumerable possible uses, from watchtower to year-round public spaces and district sports.


A heating network on the scale of the South Wing of the Randstad makes the production of heat by businesses and households to a large extent unnecessary, thereby saving on energy consumption and reducing CO2 emissions. By connecting half of the households
in Rotterdam to a heat network, the amount of CO2 emitted by housing would be reduced by between 70 and 80%. This is the same amount as is stored by 5000 hectares of woodland. This also offers the possibility to provide relatively cheap energy, to an economically weaker section of the population of Rotterdam, often living in homes with a low energy performance.

From the same investigation, you can also see:

Flows assessment

Food and Materials

Heat and CO2

Green and Blue Biotopes

Location: Rotterdam

Program: Urban Strategy for re-use of by-products of energy extraction

Year: 2013

Commissioner: IABR, Municipality of Rotterdam

Partners: Environmental Assesment Agency, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam

Design Directors: Eric Frijters, Olv Klijn, Richard Kennedy

Project leader: Rens Wijnakker

Team: Bas Driessen, Olga van Lingen, Simone Ierardi, Veronica Rivera,  Megan Born, Sanjukta Sen, Jack Lipson, Li Shuyang, Veronika Trnovská, Andrea NG

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