Deltares and Utrecht University are working on the FOME-BES project (Fibre-Optic Monitoring of the underground Energy Balance of Ground Energy Systems) to establish a clear picture of how aquifer thermal energy systems can make the most of the energy balance in the ground.

Fibre-Optic Monitoring

In three different areas, a three-dimensional glass-fibre network is being installed underground to measure temperatures in the subsurface over the course of the seasons. This will make it possible for the first time to see how, in these systems, the energy balance in the soil develops over the course of the seasons and how the ground energy potential in each area can be used optimally. This is a breakthrough that targets the optimisation of the energy and financial yields of aquifer thermal energy systems.

Deltares Contribution

The research uses the DTS fibre-optic technology, with which Deltares has extensive experience. In addition to our expertise and experience with that technology, we are also contributing in the following areas:

  1. Modelling energy and water flows
  2. Installing wells and observation wells (for ground energy systems)
  3. Exploring the options for the development of area-based (rather than building-based) ground energy.
  4. Identifying the effects, opportunities and threats associated with interference between individual aquifer thermal energy systems.
  5. Developing (in conjunction with our partners) an improved management system for the optimal exploitation of ground energy systems (at various scales).


The study will be conducted between 1 June 2014 and 31 December 2016. Over the course of eight seasons, five aquifer thermal energy locations will be studied to see how the energy balance in the ground develops and to monitor the energy performance of the aquifer thermal energy systems.

The locations will be in Utrecht, Delft and Eindhoven. It was decided to conduct the study at three locations because the make-up of the ground can vary in the Netherlands. The research will generate fundamental new knowledge that will further enhance our international knowledge position in this field.

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