Dutch utility company Nuon is currently drilling two 750-metre long heat pipelines under the nature reserve De Bretten in Amsterdam.

The project, which is being managed by Westpoort Warmte – a joint venture between Nuon Warmte and the municipality of Amsterdam – will see a 0.5 metre diameter pipeline artery installed as part of a district heating network for the 15,000 new homes in the Amsterdam borough of Nieuw-West.

The pipelines start at the Afval Energie Bedrijf Amsterdam, where the borough obtains the residual heat it uses to heat homes and tap water.

At the end of 2008 the two enormous heat pipelines in Westpoort were welded together, then at the beginning of March this year the holes were drilled in the ground. After drilling, the mains were fed through the holes. At their deepest point the pipelines are 26 metres below ground level.

Currently around 1000 homes in Amsterdam Nieuw-West are connected to district heating. They still receive it from a branch of the district heating network in the Westpoort area. Because of increasing construction of new homes and therefore the number of heating connections in Nieuw-West, the existing pipeline will have insufficient capacity in the future.

The new main will be able to guarantee a continuous and adequate supply of heating to Nieuw-West. The main is due to be in operation in the spring of next year, the company says.