The birth of DAP

The birth of DAP
by A.K.T. Wever & D.T. Gilding

How to make E&P technology, modern communication gadgets, sustainable energy, heavy drilling equipment and lots of fun converge? Put some miners on the corner of the bar in “Het Noorden”, feed them some vodka, add some KIVI to spice it all up, and you just witnessed the birth of the Delft Geothermal Project.

The Delft Geothermal Project, commonly known as DAP, was ‘born’ as such on the 28th of February 2007. Yes – this was a Wednesday ‘Noorden’ evening and no – it was not a normal evening. It all started with vodka tasting organized on behalf of KIVI Mijnbouw. As we all know, the Noorden evenings yield more then only good stories: multiple good ideas originated from discussions over a glass. But the mix of Polish Grasovska, peper vodka, Parlament and Ruski Standard triggered something different. At the end of the evening, after a short phone-call, the plan seemed carved in stone: apply for an exploration license, get some funds, drill two holes, and the TU Delft would be heated sustainably for the next 20-or-so years. However, for some reason, the next day things looked somewhat less clear. Though, the 30st of March saw some real action under the supervision of the portrait of Prof. Molengraaff in the grand meeting room at Mijnbouwstraat 120: the first DAP Project Meeting with the objective to realize a geothermal system in the TU Delft.

Since this very first meeting, DAP went through a roller-coaster ride amidst ever-changing technological, geological, innovation, bureaucratic and corporate landscapes. The DAP Trust was launched during the 23rd Lustrum of the MV, resulting in a feasibility study and company to execute the plan: realize a geothermal doublet on the TU Delft campus, integrated in the central heating network, wired and set-up as in-situ laboratory for monitoring purposes and reservoir engineering. To widen the innovative scope, rotary drilling and steel were moth-balled for Casing Drilling technology with high-tech composite pipe. An exploration license was applied for – which was heavily battled in bureaucratic disputes. Financing was sought – and found through the tightly-knit Delft Mining community: another virtue of Het Noorden and the MV. And then, on November 10th 2008 –only 21 months since the memorable Noorden evening– the 1-year anniversary of the DAP Trust was celebrated in style: with the biggest geothermal event ever in The Netherlands.

By now, many students have been shaping their engineering skills on DAP related subjects, contributing to the realization of the project: RJ Dijkhuis on economic feasibility, G Bahlen on case studies, J van Eldert on properties and heterogeneity, C den Boer on dynamic modelling, P Smits on integrated reservoir modelling and many, many more. No less than 3 DAP symposia have been organized with each attracting over 200 attendants, internships at different companies have been run. They all took the chance to experience a real-life project, contribute scientifically, and make a business impact. Much has been published, even more has been presented. In this way, DAP is a project truly originating from students’ initiatives supported through the network provided and moderated by the Mijnbouwkundige Vereeniging. Supported by alumni and a wide group of stake-holders, this demonstrates not only the reality and power of the ‘kumpel gefühl’, but also the ingenuity and commitment of today’s generation of mining engineers!

Glück Auf!


The gallery below shows some achievements from the first years of DAP: drillings at Ammerlaan and Duijvestijn, lab work performed by students and models created by students as part of thesis work.