Maritime & Offshore: sustainable use of our oceans

Clean oceans are becoming increasingly important if we are to continue to be able to feed the world’s growing population. TNO is therefore constantly working on new techniques to, for example, fish smarter, sail cleaner and protect materials at sea better against (bio)corrosion.

Safe ship and offshore structures

In the design of ship and offshore structures, the limits are regularly being shifted. Structures are becoming larger and more complex. Functional requirements are becoming ever more demanding. Predictable and reliable behaviour of these structures is a prerequisite for safe operations at sea. In addition, in certain circumstances this must also be done under extreme conditions in terms of temperature (cryogenic, arctic), pressure, dynamic and static load and impact. TNO has the knowledge and experimental facilities to test ship and offshore structures under extreme conditions. In addition, we have specialist knowledge to predict the ageing and failure behaviour of materials (steel, concrete and composite) under these conditions.

Clean ships

Shipping must comply with ever stricter rules on emissions. TNO has a broad portfolio of knowledge and technology to support the sector in this respect, including knowledge of:

  • instrumentation for monitoring and analysing emissions;
  • research into emission reduction measures;
  • methods for optimising operations (speed versus emissions, capacity optimisation, synchro-modal analysis and games);
  • analysis and a testing facility for propulsion systems and engines;
  • alternative fuels (LNG, hydrogen, methanol);
  • pre-processing and post-processing (CO2 capture, NOx/SOx capture and mitigation).

An increasingly important part of sustainability at sea is the reduction of underwater noise. As TNO, we have specialist knowledge in this area in-house to advise both public authorities and market parties. On the one hand, we are working on standards for measuring and standardising underwater noise and, on the other hand, on developing measures for limiting noise emissions from ships and offshore operations.

Operations at sea

The complexity of operations at sea is increasing. Safety is paramount. An important trend is to reduce the use of divers. For underwater operations, we are working on improved communication (underwater wifi), autonomous underwater robots and measurement and analysis techniques to improve the quality of the management of underwater robots.

Above the surface, we are working with a broad consortium to reduce the number of crew members on ships. In the first instance by developing remote control, but with the ultimate goal of realising autonomous vessels.

Part of our portfolio in the maritime sector focuses on the fisheries sector. One of the technologies we have developed is the so-called bistatic sonar. This sonar emits short sound pulses and sends back signals.  This allows fishermen to recognise fish species by size and species and decide whether or not to cast their nets. This also prevents unwanted by-catches.

If you would like to know more about what we do in the field of Maritime & Offshore, please read on below, or contact us.


First autonomous manoeuvring vessel trials held on North Sea

27 March 2019
A unique series of autonomous operations trials were held on the North Sea on 19 and 20 March, about five nautical miles off the coast of Den Helder (NL). SeaZip 3, a Damen Fast Crew Supplier 2610 ‘Twin... Read more

TNO awarded BOEM contract to develop coherent acoustic propagation methodology

07 March 2017
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is part of the US government and manages the responsible exploration and development of offshore energy and marine mineral resources on the US Outer Continental... Read more


Pieter Boersma MSc

  • maritime
  • offshore


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