After being a member of O2 Netherlands, the platform for sustainable product development, since it’s start, I decided in 1998 that I would focus on contributing to solving the energy problem from then on, aside my work as an engineer and entrepeneur.
I started with developing a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) for household heating & power production. Some years later I started Biomexx, a research group for the development of biomass gasification with solid oxide technology, thus increasing the efficiency with up to 17%. I also worked on combustion engines, developing a technology to increase efficiency with up to 15%.
All developments were promising but proved to be difficult, so progress was too slow to continue investing my personal savings in them. Maybe I will continue where I stopped one day!
The Hydrogen Economy
Having worked with hydrogen a lot in all these projects, I was surprised to suddenly see the hydrogen economy being presented as the way to solve our energy problems, around 2005. Hydrogen cannot be harvested: it needs to be made from other energy, and it is a really terrible energy storage medium. How can it solve our energy problem?
I protested against this idea, and was drawn into the energy discussion.
This energy discussion appeared to be rather fact free, which motivated me to start giving presentations and writing articles that focused on facts, and on energy- and cost calculations, trying to provide a sound basis for discussion. This resulted in many presentations over the years, some articles in magazines and in over 100 blogs on the only Dutch open discussion platform about climate and energy: climategate.nl.
Thorium Molten Salt Reactor
My twenty years quest to find the best way to provide the world with clean, safe, abundant and affordable energy finally resulted in the choice for the inherently safe designs of the fourth generation nuclear reactors, with the safest and cleanest (no long living waste) thorium molten salt reactor as the technology that we should develop as soon as possible.
So in 2013 I started the initiative to increase our Dutch research ambition to the level of developing this technology as fast as possible in our Dutch nuclear institutes. I co-organised an international thorium MSR symposium at Delft University of Technology, and tried to get support in the media and the parliament. The group that was formed around the symposium started the Thorium MSR Foundation. This foundation provides information (in English) that is checked by renowned MSR scientists.
All this resulted in a very ambitious and detailed project plan by the three Dutch technical universities and two nuclear research institutes for this fast development, and a minister of Economics an Climate openly saying that he is a fan of thorium!
I hope he will adopt the project plan soon, so we can really make a difference in the future of the world energy supply!
When our government decided to boost Dutch climate policy in 2013 by adopting the Energy Accord (Energieakkoord), it refused to mention the real costs of it, despite many requests from the parliament.
I decided to figure out the real costs and ended up initiating and financing a huge project, with two sustainable engineering bureaus doing the calculations, and several authors (including myself) writing a comprehensive report about the subject. It is published and discussed on its own site: Energietransitie.net.
We presented the first report to Frits Bolkestein, former European Commissioner on a meeting, of which the first part is viewable on video.
Our minister of Economics and Climate was not amused, and called the report (without having read it) “a load of quantified rubbish“, so we must have done a good job!