27 06 2024

In conversation with the youngest members of the Aramis team, Freek Postma and Ko Dirkzwager

Aramis brings together people of all ages to help create a greener world. The younger generation is full of innovative and bold ideas. “Our senior colleagues possess the knowledge and experience, while we have the time and bring fresh energy. It really is a joint effort”, says Ko Dirkzwager

W freek ko

Freek Postma

Age: 28
Education: Mechanical Engineering | MA Renewable Energy (Groningen, Lisbon)
Job title: Project Management Trainee at Aramis

Ko Dirkzwager

Age: 25
Education: Mechanical Engineering | MA Energy, Flow and Process Technology (TU Delft)
Job title: Aramis onshore engineering team intern

Freek Postma and Ko Dirkzwager are the two youngest members of the Aramis team. They discuss their kickstart in the energy sector and their desire to develop climate solutions, as well as their relationship with more senior colleagues in the workplace.

Welcome, Freek and Ko! Let’s start at the beginning. How did you end up at Aramis?

Freek: This year, I began a three-year project management traineeship at Gasunie, where I will work on three different projects, the first of which is Aramis. A unique but exciting opportunity. Within a month, my life was transformed, and I relocated from Groningen to The Hague. It seemed like an interesting challenge, and it turned out to be just that. I'm so glad I said yes.

Ko: I’m doing an internship at Aramis as part of my master’s degree at TU Delft. A friend of my parents told me about the project, and it sounded like a good fit given my degree and interest in energy solutions. Aramis is a great place to work, and I’m enjoying my internship.

So, you’re both positive. What appeals to you about working at Aramis?

Freek: I think the project is very educational, especially for young people. Aramis is a joint venture, so you get the opportunity to experience four different companies. The team is quite international, and each member brings a wealth of experience. It’s fast-paced, a bit like jumping onto a moving train, and, as a junior, it’s a steep learning curve! There are about 40 of us in the office, from die-hard engineers to policymakers. You don’t tend to find such a diverse range of perspectives in the same place anywhere else. The combination of people and technology makes working for Aramis so appealing.

Ko: What I also find fascinating about Aramis is that it is such a big, complicated project. It involves many stakeholders and is technically very complex. It makes me feel like I’m involved in something important and worthwhile. The Aramis project contributes to the Paris Agreement, whose significance is widely recognised. Working together on something this meaningful is very inspiring.

“Working together on something this meaningful is very inspiring.”

Ko Dirkzwager

Speaking of motivation, what drives you the most?

Ko: Finding solutions that will lead to a brighter future. Our commitment to serving the public interest and our shared purpose at Aramis inspire me to do my job well. And as far as I can tell, I’m certainly not alone in this.

Freek: No, definitely not! Being a pioneer and collaborating on the first decarbonisation project on this scale makes the work extremely interesting. What we’re doing here has never been done before. There is a lot we don’t know yet and a lot more to explore. But what we do know is that we can use CCS to prevent a significant amount of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This makes serving the public good integral to our work. Working in the energy sector provides a service to society. And the work transcends borders; everything is connected. The more efficiently our energy supplies operate, the more society can accomplish.

Ko: And having a common drive strengthens mutual relationships because, while you may not always employ the same methods, you do have the same aim.

“The more efficiently our energy supplies operate, the more society can accomplish.”

Freek Postma

At Aramis, young and old are working to create a better future. How would you describe the relationship between the different generations?

Freek: I’ve noticed that our senior colleagues are very keen to pass on their technical knowledge and experience. They want to give us a springboard to further develop CCS and other energy solutions. They realise that what we’re doing is not so much about their future as it is about ours. But that doesn’t make them any less passionate! I’ve also observed that older colleagues believe CCS provides an opportunity for them to make a tangible difference. Fully sustainable climate solutions are still a long way off, but with CCS, our senior colleagues know that they can achieve significant results in the relatively short term during their careers.

Ko: When it comes to drive, I see no difference between the generations. Everyone wants to contribute to new climate solutions. And even though the older generation may be used to different methods and approaches, there is generally a lot of respect and willingness to learn from each other. Our senior colleagues possess the knowledge and experience, while we have the time and bring fresh energy. It really is a joint effort.

And how do you see the future?

Ko: Whatever happens, there will be plenty to do in this sector. I’m very interested in renewable energy and the technical challenges. And it’s a lot of fun, too, with many interesting people. I would recommend anyone considering a career in energy to come and have a look.

Freek: There are so many opportunities for career development in this industry and so much to learn and do. But I’ve learned to remain realistic while striving for improvement because the solutions are not perfect yet, and it is going to take some time before they are fully sustainable. CCS gives us time to develop a sustainability plan and make huge steps forward in the meantime. We also expect to discover other applications for CCS technology. Working on a project like Aramis certainly stands you in good stead for the rest of your career.