State Secretary Van Geel welcomes Zonneterp

A report describing The Zonneterp has been welcomed by State Secretary of the Ministry of VROM (Dutch ministry of housing, spatial planning and the environment), Mr. Pieter van Geel, on 11 November 2005. The ‘Zonneterp’ is a design for a neighbourhood that provides for its own energy, biomass and water supply. Basic elements of the design are an energy-producing greenhouse, a settlement of 100 houses and an anaerobic digester.

Nitrogen Balance for Zonneterp

Nitrogen balance for Zonneterp

Greenhouses in The Netherlands receive more solar heat energy than they need. In conventional greenhouses the excess heat is removed by opening windows. Recent innovative greenhouse designs store the excess heat in deep aquifers through a sophisticated system of heat exchangers and pumps. The stored heat is used for warming the greenhouse during the nights or in winter. Exergy balances show that there is sufficient energy left to heat a block of houses.

The ‘energy-producing greenhouse’ has been the starting point of a design for a self-sufficient neighbourhood that closes water and nutrient cycles at a decentralised scale. In this design black water and green household wastes are anaerobically digested. The produced biogas is burned and the combustion gases are used as CO2 fertilizer in the greenhouse, while the combustion energy is used for power generation and tap water heating. The grey water of the households is purified and supplemented with nutrients of the black water flows and is used for irrigation purposes within the greenhouse.

Heating system - CO2 neutral living

Heating System - CO2 neutral living Greenhouse plants evaporate the irrigation water, while using the nutrients. The vapour condenses and is collected. The collected water is of very high quality and serves as house-hold tap water after a proper quality control.

The State Secretary expressed his appreciation for the idea to close energy, CO2, water and mineral cycles through a combination of houses and greenhouses. He offered the support of the Ministry to look for upscaling possibilities for this approach.

The Zonneterp design is made by a consortium consisting of LeAF, Fiwihex, Kristinsson Architects, Elannet BV, IIUE and Rabobank Nederland. It is described in a report of the Innovatienetwerk Groene Ruimte. A pdf-file of the report is downloadable at http://www.zonneterp.nl/zonneterp.pdf. More information about the Innovatienetwerk can be found at: http://www.agro.nl/innovatienetwerk.