Dutch history is sometimes described as a struggle against the elements, but is actually connected with the elements. And an alliance of Dutch people with each other. Working together, using elements from our environment as building blocks, we have created the Delta Works and the Flevopolder. TNO helps with applied research into a reliable, affordable and equitable sustainable energy system, all facets of system integration and their interrelationships, to realise the energy transition.
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Energy poverty and the energy transition
The transition to a fully sustainable energy system in 2050 will entail major technological, economic and societal changes. Fossil sources will then be replaced by renewable ones while supply must be guaranteed and remain affordable for citizens and businesses.
Our activities vary from conducting literature studies to deploying knowledge and laboratories such as the ’Energy storage platform’ to achieve concrete innovations with companies. We work together with and for public authorities, grid operators, energy companies, technology suppliers, industrial end-users, universities, industry associations, NGOs and many other parties involved in the energy transition.
From gas stocks to hydrogen storage
Both the generation of energy and its use by households, industry, transport and mobility are undergoing major changes. Gas and coal-fired power stations are giving way to solar panels, onshore and offshore wind turbines, biomass and geothermal energy. And where fossil power stations provide one-to-one electricity and heat, and can absorb peaks in demand, supply from renewable sources is subject to strong fluctuations.
It is not supply but demand that needs to be managed to make the system flexible. For example, we are replacing the usual gas reserves by converting electricity from wind and sun to hydrogen and storing it underground. All this makes the entire energy system more complex.
TNO combines knowledge of energy generation, conversion to other forms or carriers of energy, networks, energy storage and use and all conceivable links between them.
- Learn more about energy conversion and storage
Strengthening energy grids
The current energy grids for the transmission and distribution of electricity, heat and gas are not yet ready for a fully sustainable energy supply. The electricity grid is running up against limits and the gas grid must be able to transport hydrogen in order to ensure a secure supply of energy to the various end users. TNO is working with partners on methods to prepare the grids for the future.
- Learn more about future-proof energy grids
Future-proof energy markets
The separate markets for electricity, gas and heat are becoming increasingly intertwined, systems are integrating. Buildings can be heated in many different ways: with gas, with electricity, via a heat network or with hybrid combinations.
Well-designed markets ensure that supply and demand are properly matched, low prices, security of supply and sustainability. TNO conducts research into how markets perform and the associated regulatory framework.
- Learn more about future-proof energy markets
Flexibility and balance
Sustainable generation, conversion of electricity to hydrogen or heat, storage and transport are becoming increasingly interconnected and so there is a need for them to be brought into balance with each other. By linking sectors, large amounts of sustainable electricity can be made available for the decarbonisation of the end sectors.
Onshore and offshore wind generates electricity that at one moment goes directly to the heavy industry that currently runs on gas, but at another time is converted to hydrogen for storage. In this way, sustainably generated energy can be permanently shifted in time to moments when there is demand.
TNO’s extensive expertise can help ensure great flexibility between sustainable energy production and use by industry, households and mobility.
- Learn more about sector coupling
Database steering solutions
In order to analyse our future energy system, TNO has built a database in which all conceivable technologies, networks, variations in supply and demand, costs and revenues, and numerous other relevant data are stored. Our models can calculate which decisions for the generation, conversion, storage and transport of each form of energy have consequences in different value chains.
For example, we can determine in which cases conversion and storage for a particular energy demand is or is not cost-effective. In the energy system, everything is connected. For example, we help market players and the authorities to choose the right solution routes.
Fair distribution of costs
The success of the energy transition depends on support and acceptance in society. This is also the subject of TNO research. A fair energy system means that costs are shared fairly between citizens and companies. Many households now have little or no access to their energy bills.
We identify potential winners and losers of the transition and make recommendations to take measures for vulnerable groups. We investigate what drives and inhibits citizens to become more sustainable and advise on how citizens can be successfully involved in the energy transition. We are also reviewing legislation and regulations in order to tailor them to both technical and societal innovations.
- Learn more about a fair energy transition for all
Would you like to contribute to a reliable, affordable and fair energy system?
Get in touch with Harm Jeeninga
Sector coupling: the engine of a CO2-free society
Not all sectors are as quick in switching over to sustainable energy. Especially industry, the built environment, mobility and agriculture are slow starters. For industry, heavily reliant on fossil resources,...
The Netherlands pre-eminently suitable for conversion and energy storage
The great advantage of fossil fuels is that they provide a constant supply of energy. The supply from renewable sources, however, fluctuates strongly. To complete the energy transition, we need to balance...
Renewed and future-proof energy grids for green energy
At this point in time, the Netherlands does not have the infrastructure to support an entirely sustainable energy supply. How big an alteration are we facing? TNO is working with partners on innovative...
Cooperating on tomorrow’s energy markets
We cannot influence the weather, not now, nor in 2050. The same largely applies to the supply of wind and solar electricity. This has far-reaching consequences for the way in which we trade in electricity....
Energy storage platform: working on energy storage after 2030
In the current largely fossil energy supply, the Netherlands has large reserves of oil and gas as a buffer against unexpected events. But after 2030 a large part of our energy will come from offshore...
Robustness and flexibility of the energy system
Our current energy system is geared to certainty: the production of electricity and gas is geared to a predicted variation in energy demand. The grid has a very high level of reliability. This certainty...