Satellite data utilisation is essential to unlocking the value of earth observation (EO). TNO develops innovative space data utilisation systems that provide people, governments and industry with a clear picture of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while supporting reduction measures. Additionally, TNO offers a wide range of satellite data applications based on the domain knowledge in various areas of the organisation.

More information about our activities in the field of satellite data utilisation?

Please contact Anton Leemhuis.


Greenhouse gases & air quality monitoring

TNO develops space-based atmospheric monitoring solutions that provide policymakers and industry stakeholders with actionable information for emission reductions. Satellite data have a high added value because they provide global, independent measurements at frequent intervals (typically daily). Moreover, they provide data in areas where in situ measurements are not available. We do this for all relevant greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2 and CH4) and air pollution species (e.g. NO2, aerosols). TNO takes a multi-level approach to atmospheric monitoring by combining:

  • Satellite data that provides large spatial coverage (e.g. TROPOMI, MODIS, IASI)
  • The LOTOS EUROS atmospheric transport and chemistry model, which predicts pollution ahead of time in locations where data is not available
  • In situ measurements used for emission inventories of known pollution sources.

We do this on the basis of more than 40 years of experience in advising the Dutch government and the European Commission (such as the ECCO2 Monitoring Task Force and EU standardisation work on particulate matter).


TNO’s capabilities allow for the monitoring for all relevant greenhouse gases (e.g. CH4 and CO2) and air pollution (e.g. NO2, NH3 and aerosols). We develop solutions which can be transferred to our partners in governments and industry for operational or commercial use.

Examples of TNO applications include:

  • Air quality monitoring for urban areas using LOTOS-EUROS and data from the TROPOMI satellite instrument (S&T, Airbus Netherlands Defence & Space)
  • Monitoring methane emissions from the oil and gas and coal mining industries using TROPOMI data with partners (SRON, VU, EDF, Shell, Airbus Netherlands Defence & Space) within the GALES consortium
  • Source apportionment system TOPAS, which allows for the attribution of pollution to sectors (e.g. transport, agriculture, industry) and geographical locations (e.g. city, state, country)
  • Monitoring ammonia (NH3) emissions at a federal level for a large EU country
  • Dust storm predictions as part of a Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (SDS-WAS) for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
  • TNO develops national scale greenhouses gas emission inventories for CoCO2, the pan-European effort to build a prototype system for the global monitoring and verification of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in order to support the Paris agreement

Other markets

Earth observation data is a valuable asset for many social challenges and in the realisation of businesses and economic growth. As a multi-disciplinary organisation, TNO is in a unique position to develop earth observation solutions by leveraging domain knowledge in many different areas, such as buildings, infrastructure, maritime, defence, energy, health and traffic and transport.

Some examples include:

  • The use of Earth Observation radar (InSAR) data for monitoring geothermal energy, gas storage or hydrocarbon production
  • Combining large Earth Observation datasets in order to optimise the location and operation of microgrids.

More information about our activities in the field of satellite data utilisation?

Please contact Anton Leemhuis.

Our work

Small Satellites

TNO is developing technology for use in small satellites (SmallSats) that can offer tangible solutions to societal problems. Here, we are focusing on small, affordable earth observation instruments that... Read more

Knowledge institutes join forces to research climate change and air pollution using satellites

03 February 2022
The KNMI, TNO, SRON and Delft University of Technology will collaborate on research and technology development in the field of earth observation. The creation of the ‘Clear Air’ consortium is intended... Read more

Satellite reveals Australian coal mines emit much more methane than expected based on national reporting

29 November 2021
A Dutch group of scientists has used space instrument TROPOMI to calculate methane emissions from six Australian coal mines. Together these account for 7% of the national coal production, but turn out... Read more

TANGO satellite: monitoring greenhouse gas emissions

10 June 2020
The newly proposed TANGO satellite mission can contribute by offering global, independent monitoring of major sources of anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas emissions. Read more