The AquaCOM project

AquaCOM aims to empower energy communities in North-West Europe to use aquathermal energy (AQE) to sustainably and efficiently heat their community. AquaCOM is developing replicable governance and technical models for AQE and providing training and capacity building activities for energy communities.

Challenge – The Feasibility and scalability of aquathermal energy

Aquathermal energy technologies enable the extraction of heat or cold from surface water and subsequent processing, through heat pumps, to support local or district heat networks. Although the technology exists, there are several barriers to the widespread adoption of AQE, which include:

  • Absence and ambiguity of enabling legislation and regulation
  • Challenges in establishing the potential energy which may be generated from water sources
  • Lack of replicable, scalable implementation models
  • Absence of training and capacity building for energy communities

Objectives – Creating a learning network for energy communities

AquaCOM aims to assist with:

  • Achieving the EU 2030 and 2050 energy policy objectives of reducing dependence on fossil fuels
  • Accelerating a citizen-led just transition
  • Increasing the EU energy resilience.

This requires widespread adaption of multiple energy sources. AquaCOM seeks to prove that aquathermal energy can be adopted on a widespread, sustainable basis, to fulfil this need.

​Develop strategies

An analysis of the challenges and enabling factors for community led AQE projects will be completed, including investigating existing AQE projects, policies and experiences of energy communities. This will lead to the development of strategies for energy communities to implement AQE projects in North-West Europe.

Develop a proof of concept

Three pilot AQE projects will be implemented in France, Belgium and the Netherlands to develop a proof of concept for community led AQE systems.

Share knowledge

The uptake of AQE among energy communities will be accelerated through the creation of a tailored learning network which will include online and in person masterclasses, pilot project tours and networking opportunities.

Expected results

AquaCOM aims to prove that community-led aquathermal energy can be adopted on a widespread, sustainable basis. AquaCOM aims to assist in meeting the European Union’s climate and energy objectives by proving that community-led AQE projects improve energy efficiency and provide a sustainable zero-carbon solution which may be implemented within existing infrastructure. Through its activities, AquaCOM will inspire, empower and enable energy communities across five North-West Europe regions to exploit the potential of AQE. Outputs include 3 pilot projects, 15 ‘early adopter’ energy communities, master classes, site visits, a policy paper, advocacy actions and an AQE competence centre. The transnational approach combines the strengths and weaknesses of partner countries such as; The Netherlands who are frontrunner aquathermal energy countries, Ireland and France where aquathermal energy still occupies a niche space and Belgium, Ireland and Germany’s expertise in building energy community capacity.