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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