Jamilja van der Meulen
Translating knowledge of emissions and air quality into solutions for environmental issues: this is the area of expertise of Climate, Air & Sustainability (CAS). In doing so, we take into account economic, social and technological developments. In addition, we consider the impact on energy supply, industrial production and mobility.
Climate change, air quality and sustainability present policy makers, public authorities and companies with important challenges. As Europe’s leader in the field of emissions and air quality, TNO is happy to contribute to solutions. We’re able to do this primarily because we link our broad, up-to-date and in-depth technical knowledge of processes and systems to a network of various non-technical knowledge disciplines.
In regard to the climate, we’re working on a verification system for greenhouse gas emissions. On the basis of knowledge about emissions and the causes of emissions, coupled with diffusion models of satellite observations, we’re investigating countries’ emissions and devising new methods to measure them. What makes it so complex is that the global differences in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere are very small. By measuring other substances in the atmosphere, we’re able to determine whether emissions are changing at any given time and which sources are responsible.
Natural gas-free neighbourhoods are another example of our commitment to the climate. We use pilot projects to identify yields and combinations of possibilities. For industry, we focus on measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in specific sectors. We’re also looking for win-win situations in the trade-off of climate policy for air quality. Electric driving, for instance, is encouraged through climate policy, but a sustainable solution can only be found when the electricity is generated cleanly. Another example is wood-burning stoves in the residential sector: a good option for the climate, but less favourable for air quality.
Using our technical knowledge of processes, we create total overviews of emissions and greenhouse gases. In this way, we contribute to the air quality model LOTOS-EUROS. Besides emission data and meteorological data, such as wind, temperature and precipitation, this model describes chemical reactions and other processes in the atmosphere. From a detailed scale of one kilometre up to the level of a continent, the model is used (among other things) for smog reporting in the Netherlands and air quality forecasts in 200 European cities. Finally, we identify the decomposition of nitrogen, which plays a major role both in cities and in nature.
How do you make a production chain circular? What are the environmental benefits of reuse? Which technologies are involved? How convenient or inconvenient is circularity? We focus on these and other questions within the theme of sustainability. When you as a company make a strategic choice for sustainability, we have methods available to examine your product portfolio together. Even in the design phase of your new product or material, we make it clear whether or not a route leads to an improved environmental profile and what you can do to further develop your production process successfully.