Software for effective and efficient energy management in military compounds, solar panels that offer ballistic protection and adaptive camouflage, electricity generated from organic waste on site, cooling with solar energy – TNO supports the Dutch Ministry of Defence with innovative energy solutions in operational situations.

Sunlight is everywhere, certainly in the often remote and hot regions where Dutch armed forces are actively deployed. In the triple helix with government and industry, TNO creates innovative ways to use renewable energy. Due in part to the reliable and renewable energy solutions in operational situations, Defence forces are able to carry out their work self-sufficiently.

Mobile and cost-effective

Renewable energy is not always available in equal quantities everywhere. Improper management can quickly cause an overload on electricity grids. The TNO PowerMatcher changes standard electricity grids into ‘smart grids’ that intelligently integrate various forms and quantities of renewable energy. The PowerMatcher is a proven method of matching demand and supply, maximising the use of renewable energy effectively and efficiently, and managing energy systems. Currently, solar panels are used as add-on energy technology in military compounds. Together with industry players, we are working on comprehensive solutions for expeditionary infrastructure whereby essential military capacities, like offering protection and (adaptive) camouflage, are smartly combined with energy generation and storage.


To process organic waste on site TNO developed the biogas container, a mobile sea-freight container bulging with state-of-the-art technology. The biogas container produces biogas that can be used to generate electricity. At the same time, the water that is released from the waste can be distilled into drinking water using a special membrane technology. This high-tech solution means that the biogas container is autonomous and low-maintenance. A recent example of the possibilities of mobile, cost-effective energy solutions is cooling for military missions. This need is highlighted by fuel prices and often unreliable electricity grids, and of course there is the matter of the hazards during long-haul transportation of energy sources. So TNO is working on the Solar Cooling System: a method that produces cooling by extracting water from the humid atmosphere. Since the method uses the sun, it is both sustainable and cheap.

Nearly seventy years of research

TNO has been doing applied research for the Dutch Ministry of Defence for nearly seventy years. Time and time again we get to grips with challenges that demand new knowledge and innovative solutions. By combining the operational possibilities with smart energy solutions, we help make future missions effective, efficient and sustainable.


Philip van Dongen BSc