Some Quick Beach & Dune Shots

Today I just want to share some shots with you. No awesome story behind it, I just like them.

The photos were taken in the Kennemerduinen and the beach of Zandvoort. I did the NS walk Kennemerduinen, from station Santpoort Noord to Overveen which is a beautiful route through this landscape and a very nice place to take these shots.

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Check back on thursday for some more details about the graphic design choices I made for my thesis.


My Master Thesis Project: Direct Current in an Office Building

hereMy biggest project of the past year (and of my entire life I think) was my Master Thesis Project. During eight months I conducted research for ABN AMRO bank at Grontmij (a large engineering consultant) to investigate the possibilities for converting an existing office building to Direct Current (DC).

The research was split up into two parts, where first of all the focus was on building a business case for converting an office to DC, and second on investigating the available policy instruments to aid the development of DC buildings.

The very short summary of the first part is that it is possible to convert an office so it can run on DC, but that the costs are currently fairly high (with payback times of 10-30 years depending on the choices you make) and that a lot of tailor made solutions need to be used. It is however possible to save between 10-14% of the electricity use by doing so, coming mainly from less losses in transformers and less losses in the cables.

Other financial savings come from the ‘simplification’ of the system. For example, a DC/DC converter for a computer is much smaller, uses a lot less material and is more efficient than the current AC/DC blocks that feed your PC, thereby saving money.

So the conclusion for the first part is that for now it is only interesting as a learning opportunity, but not so much as a hard financial opportunity.

The second part of the research focussed on the policy instruments, and in there most of all the interesting observations concerning innovation and policy instruments can be made.

(Almost) Every new idea will need some help to be become a real product on the market. This is even more true for sustainability innovations, which have a positive influence on the environment but usually at costs that are exceeding the existing solutions.

It is therefore that governments create all kinds of policy instruments that can help these innovations cross the chasm and become a competitive product in the existing market. This does lead to some questions however, such as which innovations to support and when to provide which kind of support.

There is no simple, short answer to this but in general it is clear that in the first stages tax deductions for doing any kind of R&D are the instrument of choice, whereas in later stages more generic instruments are created when the innovation has proven successful. There are however still a lot more instruments to choose from at that point

If you’re interested (which might just be the case), feel free to check out the poster below, of download my entire thesis here. And if you have any questions, recommendations or other remarks, please let me know, either in the comments or by sending me a message!

Poster-MTP-ErikvanDiest-0834501

That’s all for today, in one of the upcoming posts I’ll explain some more about the design process of the logo, the branding and the poster & presentation.

Check back next week for more!


Guess Who’s Back

That’s right. It has been very quite over here the past few months, due to several reasons, but I’m back and I’ll have enough to post over the coming weeks in updates, both from recent items as well as from the past months.

Today I’ll just start with a small list of the most important things of the past few months, but expect more depth in upcoming posts.

  1. I finished my master thesis and so I am officially Master of Science now (already for several months, but still important to name)
  2. I’m looking for an interesting job. Although I like freelancing a lot I do want to develop myself further in a ‘normal’ job over the coming years and maybe eventually become an entrepreneur myself (a typical case of never say never)
  3. And as third and final point, the photography is still going strong, with some interesting images to share, as well as some more gear reviews (for example, the header is a Next-Level selfie, of which I’ll explain more another time)

For today I’ll just keep it to this, but I’ll get back to you in the second half of this week and in the coming weeks with hopefully some more entertaining posts for you.

In the mean time, Enjoy.


Portfolio Management For Innovators

One of the hardest parts of managing innovation is picking the right projects and managing these at the same time correctly. In the literature about this subject the main discussions are about exploitation (using what you already have) vs. exploration (diving into new areas of business and hardcore innovation) and about stage-gate models for developing the right innovations.

Portfolio management is also an important subject in this, since this focusses on what projects are in your pipeline, and which one’s you are kicking out of it. This is usually done looking at the incremental/radical division and how far does is suit our strategy, but you can go much further.

In this new article by InnovationManagement.se the focus is on four different types of innovations to consider when doing portfolio management, including the two named above, but also focussing on business model innovation and new venture innovation, focussing on how the company should react when the entire market changes.

Really interesting stuff for any company to think about when setting up their innovation goals for the years to come. Especially since it forces you to think deeper about what you’re doing and where you’re going.


3 Steps From Idea To Innovation (According To An Incubator)

A week ago I presented my research to the people from KIC InnoEnergy; an incubator aimed specifically at sustainable energy innovations funded by the EU.

They helped me get further with my research by pointing out some things they believe are necessary for the succes of the product, but also we had a nice discussion about innovation in general.

Along the way of the discussion we came across their method of getting a person with an idea towards an innovation. They do this in three simple steps, which I kindly turned into this nice infographic which is now also decorating some walls in the office.

3stagesInnovation-01


Hurray For Adobe

Just a quick thing I found out last week. For the past few years I’ve been using the student edition of the Adobe suite of software for creating all kinds of designs related to my study.

Now, I’m moving forward to the next phase, where I’ll be using the software to create things I get paid for. And for a long time I thought I wasn’t allowed to use the Education version of Adobe Creative Cloud for commercial purposes, but as I was looking into buying another license for the commercial work I found in the Dutch FAQ of the student and teacher edition this sentence (which I kindly translated for you):

Can I use the Student and Teacher Edition-products commercially?

Yes, Student and Teacher Edition-products can be used commercially on your own computer. Resale is not allowed.

This means that I can happily use this software at a discounted price, while having all the options I need. And yes, I’m happy about that, and I think that this is very smart, since they create a kind of lock-in for you when using these products (they’re kind of awesome in their class, I think).

Anyway, for anybody in the Student field this is a very interesting option where you can earn back the costs of a year license by producing some commercial work. Yay us.

One thing: although I found this in the Dutch version at this moment, Adobe has the right to change their terms at any moment and they may differ per country. Check for yourself to see if this is (still) applicable in your case. I can not be held accountable for any issues following from this post. Keep thinking.


Home Battery Storage for Many More

This week Tesla has made an announcement that will really kickstart the battery storage at homes. The new Tesla Powerwall is a very well looking battery box that can be mounted to your wall and attached directly to your solar panels to store the power so you can use it when you need it.

Although they are not the first one to produce something like this, they aim at doing it a such an enormous scale (by opening a new factory which will instantly double the current world production of Li-Ion batteries), that it will have a big impact on energy storage.

The only issue with this is that it might lead to a lock-in of the inferior Lithium-Ion technology for batteries, whereas currently researchers are investigating many better options, with higher power densities at lower prices. The issue currently however is that these are by far not ready for the market, but it still means that research aimed at this should be funded in order to bring the world further (are you reading this European Commission?).

Still, for now I believe that this is a very good start for this, and that it will lead to a much bigger market for sustainable energy generation. So yay for Elon Musk and Tesla.


Molten Salt to Keep it Cool

Nowadays almost all big buildings use large, high energy consuming airconditioning units to keep their buildings at a reasonable temperature throughout the year. Especially in the summer these cost an enormous amount of energy.

This problem has lead to some very fine solutions lately to keep the temperature in buildings down, of which the melting and solidifying of salts is one of the coolest.

The two types of salts used in this test have melting points between 20-25 degrees Celsius, which means that whenever the temperature is below they will solidify, thereby sending out heat and when it’s above they will take up heat to be able to melt the salt.

The main problem right now is that it’s very hard to give a small spread to the salts. Currently the spread of about 3 degrees Kelvin is normal, but the hope is to bring it down to maximum one degree spread.

The good point already is that these salts are able to almost take away the entire cooling need for part of an ABN AMRO office, as the research by TNO has shown. All we can hope for now is that many more buildings will follow.


How to Sound Fancy as Photographer

One thing photographers are very good at is making it sound like they’re doing something amazing.

We’re not just shooting landscapes, no we”re shooting Fine-art. And we’re not just taking some holiday shots, no, we’re doing Travel Photography.

If you want to be able to sound just as awesome as photographer, take a look at this website, where one photographer has written down very well (and funny) what photographers actually mean when they say what they do.