Earth observation
High Tech Industry

Clear Air consortium drives climate action and economic growth

Status project

2021 - present

In cooperation with

KNMI, TU Delft and SRON

TNO has joined forces with three other institutions to accelerate progress in the fight against climate change.

Every year, more than four million premature deaths occur because of air pollution. More than 90% of the world’s population lives in an area where the air quality is below WHO standards. And in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, nitrogen emissions are responsible for economic challenges and the loss of biodiversity in natural areas.

The Paris Climate Agreement aims to reduce the harmful impact of greenhouse gases on our environment. More than 200 countries have already signed the agreement. One of the challenges of reducing emissions under this agreement is the limited number of available, accurate emissions measurements, because emission data is often based on estimates. The newly formed Clear Air consortium aims to address this and other challenges.


With Clear Air, we aim to drive real change with the power of satellite data.

Anton Leemhuis

Senior Business Developer

Data to drive change

Effectively reducing emissions begins with data that – as precisely as possible – identifies the source and dispersion of gases in the atmosphere. And satellite instruments and data can play an essential role. TNO has joined forces with KNMI, SRON and Delft University of Technology to use satellite technology to measure emissions and atmospheric composition. In Clear Air, each consortium partner will bring its expertise to bear to make globally consistent, accurate and comparable earth observations of harmful substances and gases and their distribution.

‘Satellite measurements provide global, consistent and comparable measurements of the atmosphere. This will help scientific research and the design and verification of policies for combatting climate change, air pollution and nitrogen levels,’ explains Anton Leemhuis, responsible for Earth Observation activities at TNO. ‘With Clear Air, we aim to drive real change with the power of data.’

Strengthening the leading Dutch position

Clear Air will not only accelerate sustainability efforts. It will also expand the leading position of Dutch climate science and air quality. Read the vision document here.

Combining expertise for acceleration

Clear Air will bring together the group’s expertise in measuring emissions, developing models for atmospheric chemistry, processing satellite data and producing innovative satellite data products, among other things. By combining this expertise, the consortium aims to develop actionable information to science, government and industry stakeholders.

The independent, indisputable verification of emissions from satellite data will strengthen future Paris Agreement assessments. By detecting and identifying emission sources at various scales – from leaky gas pipes to national emission – reduction efforts can take place on a level playing field. Public authorities and industry will use the data to limit climate change, and improve both air quality and biodiversity.

Learn more about Clear Air

Visit the Clear Air website for more information.

Strengthening the Dutch position

What’s more, the consortium will help strengthen the Dutch leading position in climate science and clean air initiatives. ‘The Netherlands already has a prominent knowledge position in the field of earth observation of the atmosphere,’ Anton says. ‘The Netherlands developed TROPOMI, a satellite instrument, which is used around the world and maps air pollution (nitrogen dioxide) and the greenhouse gas methane globally each day. Clear Air will take us yet another step further as a country, and as a community of scientists.’

Clear Air will also work with Dutch companies that are becoming increasingly active in making satellite data commercially available, like data service providers and satellite or instrument manufacturers. Collaborating with these Dutch partners also can ensure that Clear Air’s efforts serve as a green driver of sustainable economic growth in the Netherlands.

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22 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Satellite instrument OMI orbits Earth for 100,000th time

4 May 2023

This week, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) reaches a milestone: 100,000 orbits of Earth. This is extra special because the monitoring instrument was originally designed for a six-year mission after its launch in 2004. OMI has since been monitoring atmospheric emissions and the ozone hole for more than 18 years, which has provided a lot of useful data. This enabled TNO, for instance, to measure the effects of stricter air quality policies in European countries.

Jan Nijenhuis appointed Knight in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands

26 April 2023

Jan Nijenhuis Knight has been appointed Knight in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands. This royal appointment is an acknowledgement of his ground-breaking research in the field of opto-mechatronics. Today, Jan received the decorations that go with this award from Marja van Bijsterveldt, mayor of the city of Delft.

Norwegian satellite with SmallCAT laser communication system aboard, successfully launched

15 April 2023

Norway's NorSat Technology Demonstrator has been successfully launched by the Norwegian Space Agency from SpaceX in California. The NorSat-TD satellite carries several payloads, including the SmallCAT laser communication system, which was developed by TNO-led consortium to enhance data transmission capabilities of small satellites using direct-to-earth laser communication. SmallCAT will be tested in orbit over the next few months by connecting with the optical ground station at a TNO location in The Hague.

TNO-led Dutch consortium to develop HemiCAT laser communication terminal

22 March 2023

TNO will begin developing a laser communication terminal with a consortium of Dutch partners. This high-efficiency miniature demonstrator called HemiCAT will increase data transmission capabilities of small satellites via direct to earth laser communication.

FSO Instruments introduces laser satellite communications to the market

14 March 2023

The Dutch technology developers and producers, Demcon and VDL Groep, are combining their laser satellite communication activities in FSO instruments. This is the first laser satellite communication technology company to be founded in the Netherlands and builds onto the groundbreaking technology developed by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) in cooperation with companies, including Demcon and VDL.