New Perspectives / Korneel

Especially where there is friction, Korneel van der Meer sees room for improvement. As Product Manager at Huisman, he is not averse to change. Together with his colleagues of the business line ‘Huisman Geo’ he works hard to achieve sustainable energy solutions. And yes, once in a while this means a product is ahead of its time or an investment is of no avail.

Everything is possible here. If you believe in something hard enough, it will become reality.”

Korneel van der Meer, Product Manager

A lot has happened during the five years you’ve been working at Huisman
“Absolutely. The environment is changing fast. Huisman adapts, but also actively contributes towards that change. Previously, I mainly focused on developments for the oil and gas industry, now the focus is on geothermics.” Smiling: “It’s still drilling, but a lot cleaner.”

And what is currently in the pipeline at ‘Huisman Geo’?
“For 2050 we have an ambitious plan for the Netherlands, in which geothermal heat meets twenty-two percent of the total heat demand. To achieve this, seven hundred doublets are needed, that is two adjacent deep drillings. Right now, this number amounts to twenty, so we still have a long way to go. We invest in the development of geothermics because we believe it can substantially contribute towards the energy transition. The aim is to deliver – in collaboration with partners – geothermal power plants and guarantee long-term heat supply and maintenance. Long-term return that is what we believe in.”

What exactly does Huisman develop?
In short, we develop technology to reduce costs and minimise risks. We not only take the drilling of the wells into account, but we also reduce costs and risks during the entire lifecycle of the doublet.”

Can you give a few examples?
“Of course. Tools, for instance, for new ways of drilling. We now have a system for well drilling in far fewer steps –faster and safer, therefore. We have developed a unique concept that enables continuously guided drilling, which as a result is much cheaper than existing systems. Another example are pipes of composite materials. Corrosion and silting up of the steel pipes in the wall of the well can cause major problems. Operators are now trying to reduce this with costly materials, which is why we have developed composite pipes. They don’t corrode or silt up and are much lighter than steel. If you can install that and it works for thirty years, you have far fewer operating expenses.”

What else do you believe in?
“In joining forces. We literally burn up quite some energy here. It’s really nice if you can use that energy to create a cleaner world together with your colleagues.”

Is it important to you to be leading in that?
“Yes. I do not see my job as ‘something you do from nine to five and that’s it’. Exploring new possibilities gives meaning to my work.”

What else does Huisman focus on in the near future?
“The largest usual suspect, offshore wind. A lot of wind turbines are being installed at sea and they are becoming bigger and bigger. Huisman builds high-tech cranes that are able to realise this. All those new wind turbines need maintenance too, of course, which offers a market for the great tools we are designing.”

So, how do you arrive at solutions for such complex problems?
“Pfew.” It remains silent for a short while. “What I try, is to look at a problem from another angle. Suppose you are a stakeholder, how would you perceive the problem? Sometimes, this provides new viewpoints. Besides, at Huisman there are many people I can learn from. No one here has a monopoly on wisdom. We often work on things that don’t exist yet, so you need to find the solutions together.”

Hard work?
“Sure. Sweet talk alone doesn’t keep ten thousand tonnes up in the air.”

What should a real ‘Huisman’ be made of?
“You shouldn’t be scared of innovation. Flexibility and initiative are also important. If you make an effort, a lot is possible. In fact, everything is possible. If you believe in it hard enough, it will eventually become reality.” 

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