Renovating Amsterdam's quay walls and tackling energy ambitions

News - 18 May 2021 - Communication BK

The heat from the Amsterdam canal water could be collected in the summer, stored in the subsurface, to use it in the winter. Aquathermal energy from surface water could be a feasible alternative to natural gas, since this city counts a large number of canals and open water. AMS Institute, with research fellow Maéva Dang of the faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, focuses on solving Amsterdam’s energy challenges. 

An innovative canal wall that includes a heat exchanger

The project focuses on sustainable heating solutions for Amsterdam’s historic buildings. One of the questions is, can canals help cool off or warm up Amsterdam's built heritage? For this project, researchers explore opportunities for synergies with alternative heat solutions such as thermal energy, residual heat and other forms of low temperature in the historic centre. To illustrate, regarding aqua thermal solutions, it is possible to convert temperatures from surface water, wastewater and drinking water into energy. A very promising concept investigates the implementation of a heat exchanger that can be connected to a heat pump system. Such sustainable heating technology has not yet been used in a historic city centre. 

Energy quay wall systems and energy demand

Energy quay wall systems have different scaling potentials. Based on the energy demand of the houses along the canals and the space limitations, distinct systems can be set up: individual heat pump or collective heat pump (multiple buildings to district) combined with heat and cold storage. Also, the heat pump can be either located in the house blocks or as a separate entity in a technical room (located above or below the street level). The research focuses on defining the spatial and technical requirements of different energy quay wall typologies to create a catalogue of solutions that would be linked to the most suitable location in the city.

More information

Amsterdam formulated a number of ambitions to become energy neutral by 2050. To achieve this, the city’s many historic buildings also need to be taken into account. AMS Institute and TU Delft set up a research project with the City of Amsterdam to contribute to the municipality’s programme to renovate up to 200 kilometres of historic quay walls. In addition to future-proofing Amsterdam’s quays, BK researchers are involved in an AMS Institute urban energy project whith focus on developing integral solutions to achieve the city's energy ambitions.

BK researchers involved are Maéva Dang (Research Fellow) and Andy van den Dobbelsteen (Principal Investigator) 

The full article was first published at AMS Institute. 
For more detailed information please visit the AMS Institute project page.

More information about the project Future Proof historic quay walls in Amsterdam can be found at AMS Institute and TU Delft: Grimburgwal provides lessons for quay wall renovations Amsterdam ( 

Image: © AMS Institute / TU Delft 

/* */