TIDAL TURBINES ARE BOOMING BUSINESS
Albert Jan van der Wal
Graduate Coastal Zone Management
Graduate Albert Jan van der Wal studied Coastal Zone Management at VHL and is now working at Tocardo, a company that makes tidal turbines for generating sustainable energy. He is in charge of business development. And business is flourishing!
Energy of the future
'Immediately after my graduation I got a job at Tocardo, a company that produces tidal turbines. These are the future! If we were to use all potential tidal energy in the world, we could provide 10% of the world's need for energy. The tides are always around and they are predictable. You don't see the turbines and nobody notices they are there. It is expected that they last for 20 years without maintenance. So, they are ideal, and very new: at the moment we have a test turbine in the drain tube in the Afsluitdijk (a barrier between the Waddenzee and the IJsselmeer lake, ed.). It has been operational for five years now, and it's the only one in the world that has been working for such a long time!'
'At Tocardo, I am in charge of business development. A commercial function, but one that requires a lot of knowledge of the technical matter. I assist potential clients who are considering buying a tidal turbine. I evaluate all aspects such as the location, the current and depth of the water, but also ownership, licences, safety, shipping and tourism. Along the way, a project gains body and it becomes a thorough feasibility study. Next step is to determine the follow-up together with the prospect and we consider whether the sale of the turbine is achievable. When this is the case, the commercial director closes the agreement. This happens on a regular basis now, because sustainable energy is booming business. We now have 20 people working in the company, and our planning is to be able to install tidal turbines all over the world with over 200 employees in the next seven years.'
The perfect job
'To me, this job holds everything that is important to me and that I like to do. I have always wanted a commercial job, but one with a purpose: sustainability. I also wanted a job that was worthwhile, and this is also the case. At school I acquired all the necessary knowledge, I notice this on a daily basis. And it was actually the contents of the study that led me to this job. I'm really having a great time at Tocardo.'