Our planet is facing threats on many fronts – from climate change to the decline in the natural environment and water quality. A nature-based solution for extracting renewable energy could bring benefits across multiple areas.
We are evaluating a concept that combines a surface water heating system with a naturally purifying wetland in a case study for the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The system, called ZOET, involves constructing canals which include areas of vegetation for wildlife. The wetland areas improve water quality by trapping sediment and removing phosphorus. They also increase the potential for extraction of thermal energy making surface water heating systems more feasible and profitable.
Such a system can bring many benefits for urban areas. The wetlands introduce areas of nature to increase biodiversity and improve water quality. In addition, the system provides a zero-carbon energy source to assist ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.