Energy recovery from the water cycle: Thermal energy from drinking water

Jan Peter van der Hoek*, Stefan Mol, Sara Giorgi, Jawairia Imtiaz Ahmad, Gang Liu, Gertjan Medema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
252 Downloads (Pure)


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contribute to climate change. The public water utility of Amsterdam wants to operate climate neutrally in 2020 to reduce its GHG emissions. Energy recovery from the water cycle has a large potential to contribute to this goal: the recovered energy is an alternative for fossil fuel and thus contributes to the reduction of GHG emissions. One of the options concerns thermal energy recovery from drinking water. In Amsterdam, drinking water is produced from surface water, resulting in high drinking water temperatures in summer and low drinking water temperatures in winter. This makes it possible to apply both cold recovery and heat recovery from drinking water. For a specific case, the effects of cold recovery from drinking water were analyzed on three decisive criteria: the effect on the GHG emissions, the financial implications, and the effect on the microbiological drinking water quality. It is shown that cold recovery from drinking water results in a 90% reduction of GHG emissions, and that it has a positive financial business case: Total Cost of Ownership reduced with 17%. The microbial drinking water quality is not affected, but biofilm formation in the drinking water pipes increased after cold recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-987
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Cold recovery
  • Drinking water
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Microbiological water quality
  • Thermal energy


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