Gerdo Dalhuizen, a Fresh Vision of the Future of the Energy Industry

Mario Honrubiaengineers

Meet Gerdo Dalhuizen, the engineer whose winning solution will revolutionize the Energy Industry

It is always a pleasure to award engineers of our community with a prize for their good work. In this case, Gerdo Dalhuizen provided us with an outstanding solution for the Overhead Line Protection Challenge, and the electric company Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) decided to choose him as the winner. Let us take a look back at the challenge, shall we? SPEN wanted an innovative mechanical system that protected the distribution line from the potential fall of a wire from the transmission line. It was of the utmost importance that the solution avoided digging, and it had to be effective, cost-efficient and with a short and easy implementation. Luckily for everybody, Gerdo knew just what to do. Get to know him better through this short interview, enjoy! Fresh Vision of the Future of the Energy Industry Gerdo Dalhuizen, winner of the Overhead Transmission Line Challenge
  •  Can you introduce yourself briefly? What is your more relevant working experience?

I am Gerdo Dalhuizen born in The Netherlands and living for some 15 years now in Madrid. I studied Civil Engineering & Management at the University of Twente in The Netherlands. After my studies, I worked for about 5 years in major construction companies in Spain in R&D projects. Since 2008 I am working in Técnicas Reunidas (TR) as Project Engineer for Energy Projects. I am responsible for the civil part of EPC contracts for power stations TR is executing. I have worked on projects and proposals in various parts of the world, e.g. The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Finland, France, Ireland, México, UAE, Turkey, USA, and Saudi Arabia.
  • What challenges have you participated in? How well did you do in them?

 The challenge “Overhead Transmission Lines” was the first challenge I participated in. Now I am participating in some of the challenges that are currently ongoing. I won the first challenge I participated in, so in that way that was a great start in Ennomotive. After that, I have not passed to the next round of another challenge, which is OK, it is “part of the game”.
  •  What kind of challenge do you like most? Why?

 I like to participate in challenges where the company is looking for or willing to accept a completely disruptive idea and where solutions from other sectors (which might be more advanced) can be implemented in the sector of the challenge. Although I tend to look for challenges related to my background, I also like those not related as this allows me not to be “restricted” by the common solutions of the sector.
  • What is your motivation for participating?

 I like to do things in a different way; already in my studies, I chose a new recently created study instead of the established Civil Engineering study, and in my 5 years of experience in R&D I have also been looking for innovative products and processes in the construction sector. In my current job, I am also asked many times to take on activities which are new to the company.
Through Ennomotive, I get a chance to participate in challenges which allow me to present solutions that are innovative and different to those used up to the moment. Also, the participation in the challenges is compatible with my full-time job and of course in case of winning (or passing) in a challenge, the prices offered are a nice extra income.
  • Did you have any experience with this kind of challenges? Have you solved a similar challenge in the past?

 Ennomotive is the first platform in which I participate in challenges of this type. I did not participate in any challenges of this type before, although in my career I am often confronted with challenges that require an innovative or new solution.
  • How did you come up with this solution? What was your inspiration?

One of the existing ways infrastructure and buildings under high tension lines are protected is through wooden portals/structures or through temporary steel structures which are like a tunnels. The solution I proposed is like a kind of tunnel as well, but making use of light and dielectric materials. I was familiar with the wide use of inflatable structures in rough environments, so the link was quickly made. Widely available literature confirmed that the solution would be suitable.
  • You work for a company in the Oil & Gas industry; what are the most innovative techniques used there? 

Although I work for a company known for its projects in the oil and gas industry, I am active in the Energy sector. It is widely known that there is a move towards renewables in the sector, although the company I work for is not very active in areas as solar and wind. The suppliers of the main equipment for power plants are very active in the development of new technologies, examples are the use of improved materials, the 3D printing of parts of gas and steam turbines or the development of “digital” power plants. In the engineering part, the use of 3D models and BIM, for example, are becoming more and more widespread.
  • The global trend is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase the renewables. How do you see the future of the energy industry? 

I think that, as indicated by many of the experts, for the nearby future a sound mix between different forms of energy generation is necessary; that means that fossil, nuclear and renewable generation all will have their role. Furthermore, there is an important tendency towards decentralized, local generation and new demands (electric cars e.g.) which will generate completely new requirements to the energy networks as they are today.
In the renewables area, important improvements are made on the storage capacity, but further improvements on the storage seem necessary to be able to also provide energy when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine.
 Do you agree with Gerdo on the future of renewables? Do you think there will be new challenges to tackle with these changes? You can start solving challenges at ennomotive, take a look at them here.