Green performance of ships

Improving the sustainability of maritime transport, inland navigation and ports. TNO is working on this with research into circularity, smart logistics, fuel-efficient propulsion systems and alternative fuels. In addition, we are investigating the framework and associated conditions to help realise the maritime energy transition.


"Together with the shipping industry, knowledge institutes and the government, we are shaping the energy transition for the Dutch maritime sector," says Jurrit Bergsma of TNO. "To this end, we have translated the agreements of the UN International Maritime Organisation into the national Green Deal for Sea and Inland Shipping, and Ports. In concrete terms, this means a 40 percent reduction in CO2 emissions per ship by 2030 and a 50 percent reduction for all shipping traffic worldwide by 2050."

Complex playing field

TNO brings together all the necessary expertise in the complex playing field of shipyards, ship owners and suppliers. Bergsma: "Through the clever reuse of the materials for ships and the infrastructure, we help generate circular solutions. We also have expertise in optimising logistics and we are working on new propulsion systems such as fuel cells and combustion engines coupled with CO2 or NOx capturing post processing. Last, but not least, we are doing research into alternative fuels and battery electric energy carriers.”

Overarching issue

In addition to practical research, TNO is working on an overarching issue: closing the business case on maritime greening. "This is logical, because in the end the solutions need to be financially feasible," explains Bergsma. This societally driven energy transition currently requires serious investments, for example in new infrastructure, that are challenging but also offer enormous opportunities for opening up new markets for the high-quality Dutch maritime sector. In order to achieve this, good cooperation between every stakeholder is important: the government as well as both large parties and small parties. TNO can then sketch this picture and advise on the best approach.”

International character

Due to the international nature of the maritime sector, TNO often cooperates with multinationals, in addition to the companies based in the Netherlands. And of course we involve knowledge institutes, the EU, shipyards and suppliers in our research. The shared picture that we create in this way is a precondition for putting sustainable shipping on the map in the long term."

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Sustainable Traffic and Transport