On 31 January Commissioner of the King in Groningen, René Paas, opened the TNO HESI facility in Groningen. The facility Hybrid Energy System Integration (HESI) is the first of its kind in Europe. It is directly connected with different energy labs, including the United States, through the fastest available Internet connections, which allows the HESI lab to perform real-time simulations. It is a testing ground for companies to test hardware and software innovations in a controlled, realistic environment. Through this, the lab provides the possibility for a faster step from prototype to market launch.

The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Several businesses and organizations are constantly developing new products and services to help shape this transition.

Testing ground
TNO set up a testing facility at EnTranCe (center for energy transition of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen and Energy Academy Europe) where new technologies can be tested in real conditions. At the HESI lab, TNO supports companies to bring their inventions faster on the market. The ultimate goal is to move from stand-alone, small-scale experiments to large-scale experiments under conditions that occur in the real world.

In addition to the opening cooperation agreements were signed with the foreign labs ‘National Renewable Energy Laboratory’ (NREL) of the US Department of Energy and the Belgian ‘EnergyVille’. In the US, HESI is working together with the ‘Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’ (PNNL). In the Netherlands, the research institutions Energy Academy Europe, ECN, and Hanze University of Groningen are connected to the HESI lab. Also network operators GasUnie and GasTerra are associated with HESI. Through that, HESI increases the scope for Dutch companies with fundamental and practical knowledge from home and abroad.