For decades TNO has played a pioneering role in innovation in building and construction, civil infrastructure and the maritime and offshore sectors in the Netherlands. Sectors that are essential for the economy and liveability of our country. An innovative building and infrastructure sector contributes to the quality of housing, good accessibility and future-proof urban development. The Dutch maritime and offshore sector has traditionally been internationally leading. The importance of innovation has strongly increased in the sector, especially in recent decades, with a focus on the sustainable economic development of the North Sea and the effective handling of the rapidly growing flows of goods.

Spearheads for TNO in these important sectors for the Netherlands are:
1. Predictable reliability of existing and future structures;
2. Transition to an energy-neutral and circular economy.

We all want the infrastructure and built environment in the Netherlands, both on and offshore, to be reliable and predictable as well as sustainable in terms of use. TNO wants to and can play a key role in this.

Predictable reliability of structures

By measuring and modelling, we keep an eye on the condition, vulnerability and residual lifespan of structures. How long will the structure of a bridge remain reliable? When and what kind of maintenance is required? How can we limit damage to ships in the event of a collision? How do we avoid unnecessary maintenance of offshore wind turbines? "Innovative measuring equipment along with building and probabilistic knowledge systems help us to guarantee safety and to intervene when necessary. This enables us to ensure that maintenance is carried out neither too late nor too early," says Machteld de Kroon, managing director of the BI&M unit.

Transition to a sustainable and circular economy

When it comes to residential and non-residential building, we focus on energy-neutral or even energy-producing buildings, without compromising aspects such as comfort, safety, quality and affordability. We also contribute to a sustainable economy by innovating in the field of circular building materials.
Reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions is also crucial in the shipping industry. How do you achieve substantial reductions in emissions from shipping, both inland and at sea?
Whether it's an offshore platform, a bridge, lock, windmill or an energy-neutral home, we predict the behaviour of the system in terms of construction, energy and material consumption, and deliver innovative solutions to increase availability, usability and sustainability.

Digital predictive twin

TNO is working on the next step in the digitalisation of the building and construction sector: the digital predictive twin. This is a digital replica of a physical object, for example a bridge, whereby you can make predictions about its future behaviour. The digital twin provides timely insight into the need for maintenance, renovation or replacement of its physical twin brother and can simulate intended changes to a structure before they are actually implemented. Our digital replicas incorporate building models, traffic models, sensor data and artificial intelligence.

We have now developed a digital replica (proof of principle) of a bridge deck of the Van Brienenoord Bridge. Eventually, we will link predictive twins so that we can perform analyses at network level, as a basis for predictive and proactive management and maintenance.

If you would like to know more about Buildings, Infrastructure and Maritime, read on or contact us directly.