Bridges2000, which builds and supplies bridges and gangways, is keen to set a good example. Hendrik van der Ham, CEO of Bridges2000, regularly gives guest lectures at colleges and universities, where engineering is very important. “I believe that sustainability should be a conviction and that we should start in our own living environments. So people should actually come up with examples themselves, after being challenged to think along,” Van der Ham said.
He also wrote a book titled “Vision on Resilient Sustainable Societies”. This book will be available soon and can be ordered. It challenges people to look at society differently. But more importantly, it makes business recognize that a whole new market is open. According to Van der Ham, there are several niche markets that are mostly overlooked. “Think of waste processing or new applications for the same products or for the waste itself.”
“Manufactured from aluminum, products are lighter. In the past, the steel industry was always promoting itself, saying that steel needs less heat to be manufactured. Yet they always forgot that it cannot be easily reused and is much heavier, so all other constructions must also be manufactured from heavier material or made stronger.”
Bridging the gap
Van der Ham continues: “And then again, of course, comes maintenance. Steel is coated before use and afterwards it has to undergo many treatments. Aluminum can be assembled immediately after manufacture and also needs no treatment afterwards. In other words. I would therefore like to bridge the gap to much more use of lightweight aluminum structures. If it has to be stronger, there are also all kinds of extrusion possibilities. There are many examples of this: engine blocks of motorcycles. A lot of things can be constructed differently and actually much nicer, manufactured from aluminum.”
Van der Ham explains that it is necessary to think in steps. “Is what is being conceived actually much more sustainable? Tesla’s cars are not sustainable at all, because the batteries cannot be broken down and the materials and process to make them are very polluting. In addition, the power that goes into the batteries is simply generated in coal-fired power plants.”
Van der Ham believes in “resilience. “We should not strive for the end goal, but for intermediate goals and then start researching, so that we eventually produce and use the right product en masse. I envision a market where there is a lot of trial and error and where the government doesn’t start subsidizing heavily right away, which sometimes leads in the wrong directions. “We have to give ourselves time and space to design the world of tomorrow together.