Environmental research and technology

ECN develops knowledge, technology and measuring instruments for a more sustainable living environment and improved air quality.

What is a sustainable living environment?

In a sustainable living environment, citizens and businesses coexist in a healthy environment without causing nuisance to each other.

This means for example, no air pollution, offensive odours or smells, or noise, light, radiation or heat nuisance. It includes immediate nuisance, such as noise, and nuisance from long-term effects, for example from some types of air pollution.

What role does ECN play in a more sustainable living environment?
ECN develops knowledge and technology to make a more sustainable living environment possible. The first step is to make invisible factors visible, through monitoring and analysis.

ECN’s nuisance monitoring is primarily focused on air pollution. We use innovative monitoring equipment to map out air pollution and analyse the resulting data to produce information that can be used to help create a more sustainable living environment.

ECN also works together with businesses to develop concrete solutions for environmental problems, and with governments and local authorities to develop innovative policy aimed at achieving a more sustainable living environment for their citizens.

What expertise does ECN have in this area?
Our expertise in a sustainable living environment includes: 

  • Instrument and sensor development
  • Measuring and monitoring air quality
  • Producing air quality models
  • Monitoring and analysing nitrogen (ammonia, nitrogen dioxide) emissions and deposits

Read more about our sustainable living environment expertise. Or watch the animation about measuring greenhouse gases.

What is a circular economy?

In a circular economy, once raw materials have been extracted they are continually recycled, so there are no waste products. 

What is ECN’s role in the circular economy?
Some waste or recycled materials contain pollutants, making them unsuitable for direct re-use in the building sector, for example. We use our scientific expertise to develop analysis methods and processes to enable construction materials to be reused responsibly. A particular problem in this regard is the leaching of such pollutants as heavy metals.

What is ECN’s expertise in the circular economy?
Our expertise enables us to provide the following solutions: 

  • Environmental risk assessment for reuse of materials
  • Assessment and analysis of leaching
  • Process development for recycling
  • Leaching prediction models

Read more about circular economy on our theme page on this subject or on our page about products and services.

Norms and standards

ECN develops methods for use in writing new standards and is a frequently requested partner in norms and standards committees, such as the technical committee CEN/TC 351 which is developing a European method for assessing the release of dangerous substances from construction products into the environment. 

Tip: Are you interested in the marketable applications for our pioneering research and innovative technologies and how we work together with other companies and exchange knowledge? Then pay a visit to our page on technology transfer.

Want more info?

Are you interested in how ECN can help you, or would you like more information on our research or technology? Then please contact us.