Who are you?
I'm a water enthusiast and clean-tech specialist on a mission to solve fresh water scarcity, using only the sea, sun, earth & wind. Within 10 years from now, 2/3 of the world population will face water shortages. Already today, many of our water systems have become stressed. Through the food we eat, the products we buy and the energy we consume, we currently use more water than the Earth can supply us. As a result, our aquifers, rivers and lakes are disappearing; already more than half of the world wetlands have disappeared. Add extreme weather patterns through climate change to the equation and it's not hard to imagine that water is becoming a reason for conflict.Through my company Elemental Water Makers we secure fresh water today, without limiting tomorrow. We do so by desalination driven by renewable energy; turning seawater into drinking water using only the unlimited elements of the sea and sun. We have been executing various projects on islands and coastal regions worldwide. At the same time, I tend to create more awareness on the subject of water scarcity, share our knowledge and inspire by giving talks. Recently, I have also become involved with Singularity University NL.
What should we know from you we can't find on the internet?
My connection with water and nature is very strong, during the time that I can find I surf the waves and wind as passionate wave & kite-surfer. Another important milestone is that I managed to score 0 points during an episode of the Dutch television show Lingo.
What exciting project are you working on now?
Right now we are working on the implementation of a municipal project in Cape Verde. We found a village that receives limited amount of water by trucks, which includes the risk for contamination. As a result, the water for the villagers is expensive and the quality and availability are limited. We will enable water at a lower price, with full availability and of high quality through executing a water project that involves project finance. By bringing the technological solution and the finance, this model becomes rapidly scalable for all 54 Small Islands Developing States (SIDS, not a coincidence I'd say).
What has driven you, starting this project?
A couple of years ago I was surfing in Madagascar, which doesn't resemble the image created by the cute animated movie. When I was making my way from Antananarivo to the west coast, a trip of almost 2 days, I saw so many young children spending hours to fetch water of limited quality. This is not just a health issue, it also limits them in their possibilities for education. When I was lying there in the sea surrounded by an abundance of sun, I realized that these unlimited elements had to be part of the solution.
Why did you join the Global Shapers hub in Amsterdam?
One of my believes is that you need people from different backgrounds together to be able to create the most impact. Surrounded by tech-entrepreneurs, working hard in my own international niche, it's quite refreshing to indulge myself with all these passionate and motivated individuals, spending all their energy to reach their goals. Besides the synergy, for me it's very important to create more awareness on the subject of water scarcity and its effects on all levels, also on the global agenda of the WEF.
What can we expect from you in the upcoming 2 years?
Besides growing my company to create more impact for the people that need it the most, I'm challenging myself to think bigger and start moving from scarcity to abundance and the opportunities that this will bring. I also hope to inspire as much people as I can to leave their conventions behind, follow their dreams and find their passion.