Technology Readiness Level

The Technology Readiness Level (TRL) indicates the maturity level of novel technologies throughout the entire research and development cycle from idea to a commercially deployed product. The origins of the TRL can be traced back to the 1970s when NASA developed it to assess the maturity of new technologies for space missions and to prioritise their development and deployment. 

Over the years, the TRL framework has been refined and adapted by various organisations in different fields and has become an essential tool in the technology development and deployment process helping organisations to assess the readiness and potential risks associated with adopting new technologies and to make informed decisions about their deployment and commercialisation. 

Nowadays, there are multiple different TRL scales in use by various organisations and industries worldwide. The NASA scale ranges from 1 to 9 like those of many other organisations like the European Union and the US Department of Energy. However, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has defined a TRL scale rating from 0 to 7 in API RP 17 N, which is also in wide use in the energy industry. uses the 1 to 9 scale like NASA and the table below gives the definition used by the European Union. For more information, see for example Wikipedia or this LinkedIn article. 

Development StageTRLDefinition
Research1Basic principles observed and reported
Research2Technology concept formulated
Research3Experimental proof of concept
Research4Technology validated in laboratory
Development5Technology validated in relevant environment
Development6Technology demonstrated in relevant environment
Deployment7System prototype demonstration in an operation environment
Deployment8System completed and qualified
Deployment9Actual system proven in operational environment