New TNO hydrogen lab brings hydrogen as a clean fuel closer

04 Feb 2021

TNO's Innovation Centre for Sustainable Powertrains (ICSP) in Helmond is firmly committed to the application of hydrogen. On Wednesday 3 February, the first large quantity of this clean gas was delivered for extensive measuring, testing and experimentation.

Hydrogen has the potential to replace diesel as a fuel for heavy trucks, marine engines and portable generators in the future. TNO wants to accelerate this development to help achieve the climate objectives in the field of mobility and to create opportunities for Dutch industry.

Clean hydrogen combustion engine

In the new test facilities, made possible in part by government funding, we are working closely with Dutch companies in open innovation to accelerate innovations in this field. This puts our country in a unique position to develop technologies that bring a clean combustion engine closer.

There is also much to be gained by improving the performance and reducing the costs of fuel cells used to power vehicles and vessels. Hydrogen could also be used as a clean fuel in stationary diesel generators, earth-moving and agricultural machinery, for example, with immediate and enormous local environmental benefits.

Building on existing knowledge

When hydrogen is combusted in an engine, all that is released is water and at most a negligible amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx). The exact figures will become clear from the measurements and tests that TNO will be performing in Helmond.

The innovation centre's new facilities consist of four test cells where we will measure and test the performance and emissions of both fuel cells and hydrogen-powered engines under very different conditions. The advantage is that the application of the much cleaner hydrogen can build on robust existing technology with which TNO has decades of experience.


Intensive cooperation between knowledge institutes and the business world accelerates the development of clean propulsion. This is good for the environment and for the Netherlands as a whole. The first development projects in the field of hydrogen combustion have now started, laying the foundation for taking the application of hydrogen technology further in the Netherlands.

Our work

Hydrogen for internal combustion engines in heavy equipment

Additional research is needed in the short term to accelerate the implementation of hydrogen combustion in order to achieve the climate objectives. To this end, a public-private partnership will have... Read more

Jack Bloem MSc

  • Heavy Duty Trucks

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