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The Mayor of your North Sea

The North Sea plays an important role in the energy transition. Wind farms generate renewable energy there, with plans to convert it into hydrogen on, for example, energy islands, use existing pipelines for transport, store CO2 and produce biomass in the form of seaweed. TNO is working with parties on the development of the North Sea as a source of energy, integrated with food supply and nature conservation. The Mayor of your North Sea plays an important role in this.

The Mayor of your North Sea is an initiative of SummerLabb and TNO. SummerLabb is a platform that brings science and innovation to a wider audience, both online and offline. It is a function lasting one year with the aim of bringing to the attention of a broad public the North Sea in relation to the energy transition.

In the North Sea, this includes shipping, fishing, oil and gas production, wind farms, Defence-related tasks and life underwater. In undertaking this, it is important to always find a good balance between the interests of energy, economy and ecology.

If you say North Sea, you say new energy

One of the statements of the Mayor of your North Sea, Marcelien Bos, is "If you say North Sea, you say new energy". TNO is researching this on a broad front. The mayor has immersed herself in numerous innovations, technologies and applications in various places.

During a roadshow in the laboratories in Petten and Delft and on the Maasvlakte, TNO experts work on accelerating the energy transition and the role of the North Sea in it. From seaweed to solar cells, geothermal energy, CO2 storage, hydrogen, wind turbines. Impressive innovations that are of great importance for the energy transition. TNO experts take into account the effects on the environment, people and marine life.

Wide range of stakeholders

The mayor is in close contact with a wide range of stakeholders. More than twenty parties are involved in the initiative, including companies, research institutes, fisheries, environmental and nature organisations. The Mayor consults with all these stakeholders, attends events, does media appearances and whatever is useful to make the importance of the North Sea in the energy transition clear to a wide public.

Sun and seaweed

In the Solar Energy Lab you can see the latest developments in solar cells. Where standard modules on roofs produce a yield of about twenty percent, TNO is working on technologies to at least double that yield. The price of solar power can then also be reduced. The experts are also working on solar cells that can capture light on both sides and benefit from the reflection of light on the water at sea.

The North Sea is eminently suitable for growing seaweed. The seaweed lab is working on methods to make all kinds of sustainable raw materials and fuels from them, for example for road, water and air transportation.

Combination of geothermal energy and CO2

Geothermal energy is mainly known from its extraction from deep layers underground to heat houses or businesses. According to TNO experts, the seabed beneath the North Sea is also suitable for geothermal heat production. The hot water that is pumped up can be turned into electricity or combined with CO2 storage.

TNO is working on techniques to capture the excess CO2 in the air and transport it to empty gas fields under the North Sea. Subsequently, CO2 can also be used to make raw materials and fuels.

Wind energy and hydrogen

On the second Maasvlakte, TNO is investigating the new generation of wind turbines with hitherto unknown height and power and conducting extensive tests on the world’s largest turbine, the Haliade-X. These tests are intended to show whether the turbine complies with all the requirements. Once it gets a green light, production and installation at sea can begin in large numbers.

The North Sea is ideal for wind energy: high wind speeds, low turbulence and limited depth make them relatively easy to install. Algae growth at the base of the structure provides food for fish again. And at sea you can turn the electricity from seawater into green hydrogen. A major breakthrough in the North Sea is the first hydrogen plant to be made possible in the PosHYdon project, where TNO and partners are conducting research into green hydrogen at sea.

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