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!
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?
What kind of challenge do you like most? Why?
What is your motivation for participating?
Did you have any experience with this kind of challenges? Have you solved a similar challenge in the past?
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.