New Perspectives / William

Mechanical Engineer William Walhout sees plenty of opportunities for the energy transition in the next few years. Not least sustainable energy solutions. For example on vessels.

In times of transition, you look for solutions for the future.”

William Walhout, Mechanical Engineer

What are you currently working on?
On a motion-compensated monopile gripper. Most of the time, monopiles are installed from a jack-up vessel, but this gripper can compensate a vessel’s movements. As a result, it is possible to install monopiles from a floating vessel. This way we are preparing for a future in which e.g. wind turbines are placed further and further into the sea, as a result of which they are becoming increasingly heavier and larger.”

“Yes, as an engineer you look for future-proof solutions in times of transition. You should never leave things just the way they are. The offshore market is traditionally conservative, but at Huisman we think about creative solutions for energy generation and storage. Awaiting is by all means wasted on us. We’d rather get going to prove our ideas make sense.”

Which opportunities do you see?
“I see a huge role for us in developing better ways to handle energy. Future opportunities lie in smart energy solutions, like large-scale energy storage for example. On vessels for instance. It is imperative, to store renewable energy during off-peak moments.”

How do you create a great design?
“It’s not something I do on my own. I always ask for advice from my colleagues in order to enhance the design. It’s no disgrace to ask others for help, that has nothing to do whatsoever with what you can or cannot do. Cross-pollination is part of the creative process. By no means all people consider engineering a creative process, but to me this is essential to create a successful product.”

What attitude is needed for that?
“It’s important to be open-minded. I like to involve other colleagues in my work. It makes me a better designer as a result. In addition, I also have this drive to think about renewable energy.”

In which way?
“By putting less steel into a product, for example. I’m not making it heavier than necessary. This way we also stay competitive. Wind turbine installation equipment also contributes to the energy transition and is another part of my job. And I participate in an interesting research group for our geothermics branch.”

Make a wild guess, what will the offshore landscape look like twenty years from now?
“Offshore installations and vessels will be equipped with creative and clean energy solutions. Partly driven by government regulation, but also by businesses themselves.”

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