TNO provides the water industry with tests, consultancy, research and development, typically on project basis. We often cooperate with membrane producers, equipment builders, engineering contractors, end users and authorities. Projects are carried out for companies, client groups and institutions. They are performed by (a multidisciplinary team of) experts using modern facilities under a certified ISO-9001 quality system.
New water treatment technologies typically require new equipment, often integrating several separation and/or conversion technologies. TNO usually cooperates with equipment suppliers to develop new equipment, scaling up the membrane modules and selecting membranes and spacers for optimal mass and heat transfer and stable module performance. TNO tailors innovative process concepts to meet client requirements, mostly using new equipment. When materials, membranes, design and catalyst or adsorption particles need to be changed, we provide the know-how. TNO also evaluates new concepts in pilot plants, e.g. with regard to the influence of variation in feed stream composition and process parameters. For this purpose TNO operates various pilot plants in process control rooms; control via internet enables us to run the pilot plants 24/7. One of TNO's main skills is in starting up newly constructed pilot plants. Special attention is given to water pre-treatment, for instance to prevent scaling and biofouling. Another skill is trouble-shooting to optimise water plants for client needs.
TNO aids its clients in strategic developments, from idea to on-site implementation, using a low-risk, step-by-step method. Typical project phases are brainstorm or orientation; feasibility studies (both economic and technical); development, testing; pilot testing in an on-site laboratory; on-site demonstration and support with commercialisation, for instance as a joint venture. TNO can offer feasibility studies to investigate whether new technologies have a cutting edge to existing technologies. In such a study, all aspects of the technology are evaluated and compared with existing and other future technologies. Critical steps are tested in the laboratory to indicate their potential. Market surveys help identify where a new technology has the highest market potential and market studies can also indicate future aspects such as market volume, geographical differences and legislation.
TNO cooperates with each customer in a specific way, depending on client needs. We offer time-based consultancy for small-scale problems, relying mostly on experimental evidence and often recommending small-scale testing before the implementation of new applications. This includes the stability and future availability of the technology as well as sensitivity to variations in process conditions. The development of new water treatment systems usually requires a range of disciplines. We form multi-disciplinary teams to execute such projects. TNO assists in arranging financial support from governmental and private organisations or tax credits. Successful developments are commercialised through licensing. TNO can contribute to this by participating in joint ventures as a fellow shareholder. Many of our projects include cooperation between several different stakeholders and require strong management to achieve the objectives within time and budget. TNO often provides the project manager, is accountable to funding organisations and is responsible for reporting. This includes integrated projects for the EU with multibillion budgets.