Speaker biographies

Ir. D.M. (Diederik) Samsom

Diederik Samsom has been former head of cabinet of Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans since December 2019. He previously served as party leader and parliamentary leader the Dutch Labor Party (Partij van de Arbeid – PvdA) as its . Before that, he was elected to the Dutch House of Representatives in 2003 after holding the CEO position of Echte Energie (Real Energy), a small green energy trading company, from August 2002 until January 2003, and being a campaigner for Greenpeace Netherlands. Samson studied applied physics at Delft University of Technology and specialized in nuclear physics, becoming a level three radiation protection expert. He graduated in 1997, obtaining a Dutch engineer’s degree.

Frank Wouters

Senior vice-president new energy, Reliance

Frank Wouters has been leading renewable energy projects, transactions, and technology development for more than 30 years and played a lead role in the development of renewable energy projects all over the world. 
He served as Deputy Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) from 2012 to 2014.  
Mr. Wouters has served on the board of energy companies in Europe, Asia, the US and Africa and currently serves as: 
• Senior Vice President New Energy at Reliance Industries
• Co-President of the Long Duration Energy Storage Council
• Fellow, Payne Institute, Colorado School of Mines 
• Chairman of the MENA Hydrogen Alliance
• Chairman of the Dii Advisory Board
• Board Member of the Ammonia Energy Association 
• Non-Executive Board Director of Gore Street Capital, London, and 
• Director of the MED-GEM Network. 
Frank has authored several books on renewable energy and green hydrogen and lives in Abu Dhabi. He has a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Delft University.

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis

CEO, Hydrogen Europe

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis has been working at Hydrogen Europe since 2016. He currently holds the position of CEO of the association. He previously covered roles in the planning department of the Foreign Office of Germany, at Infineon Technologies and was Member of the European Parliament (2004-2014) inter alia in the ITRE Committee (Industry, Technology, Research and Energy) where he could contribute to lay the cornerstone for the first and the second Joint Undertaking on hydrogen and fuel cells. He was awarded Hydrogen Person of the Year at the World Hydrogen Awards 2022, “as a major player promoting hydrogen in Europe and world-wide, accelerating collaboration and industry development”.

Jorgo was born in Duisburg, Germany. He holds German and Greek nationality, and a degree in political science from the University of Bonn.

Cornelius Matthes

Chief Executive Officer, Dii Desert Energy and the MENA Hydrogen Alliance

Cornelius is a well-respected leader and investor in the renewable energy industry and built several successful clean energy businesses and start-ups within Middle East and Africa. He has extensive board level experience from 10 years in Deutsche Bank (among others, youngest board member in Deutsche Bank Italy Group) and several leading renewable energy organizations and associations via pro bono work as well as different startup companies.

By building the international shareholder and partner network of Dii (Desertec Industrial Initiative), he was at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution in North Africa and the Middle East. A keen entrepreneur and investor in emerging markets with recognitions such as “Solar Pioneer 2015” for the Middle East or the Visionary CleanTech Influencer of The Year 2022 by World Cleantech Awards. He is lecturing at several universities including St. Gallen and is a regular speaker at international conferences. He holds an MBA (Dipl. Kaufmann) from University of Passau, and speaks German, English, Italian, French and Russian.

His experience ranges from M&A transactions, asset management, developing utility scale renewable energy projects (including mid-market with private PPAs), pay-as-you-go solar to energy efficiency, including ESCO projects and new business models. Some of the projects and companies were executed in challenging settings or countries. He has led sizable organizations both in startup environments and blue-chip companies and has raised funds from angel investments to USD 100m+ projects with institutional investors.

“I am glad to be able to work in renewable energy which is also my passion – we can genuinely make an impact with many different things and help people, to make our planet a better place. Having new challenges every day is fantastic and many more mountains to be climbed!”

Executive management and boards of a variety of companies in emission-free technologies, as well as investment funds, seek his advice.

Marjan Minnesma

CEO and founder, Stichting Urgenda

Marjan Minnesma (1966) is directeur en oprichter van de Stichting Urgenda sinds 2007. Marjan studeerde bedrijfskunde, filosofie en rechten en werkte bij Novem (nu RVO), Greenpeace en tien jaar aan verschillende universiteiten. Het meest bekend werd Marjan/Urgenda door het winnen van de klimaatzaak tegen de Nederlandse overheid in 2015 tot aan de Hoge Raad in 2019. Urgenda kreeg daarvoor een ere-doctoraat van de Universiteit van Brussel en Marjan won de Goldman Environmental Prize (ook wel de groene Nobelprijs). Urgenda werkt aan concrete oplossingen op het gebied van klimaat en biodiversiteit die helpen om sneller te verduurzamen. De versnelde overgang naar bijna 100% duurzame energie is daarvan een belangrijk onderdeel.

Nienke Homan

CEO of Impact Hydrogen

Mrs Nienke Homan is an international expert in energy transition, specialised in green hydrogen, energy systems, infrastructure, and industrial transitions. She plays a leading role in designing sustainable value chains that contribute to regional development. Nienke has several advisory and board positions, such as board member of the Green Hydrogen Organisation in Geneva, chairwoman of the Royal Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry (VNCI) and chairwoman of the Dutch Ceramic Industry. Nienke is the CEO of Impact Hydrogen, a company that advises on and organises hydrogen projects that contribute to green growth and prosperity in regions across the globe by mobilising technical expertise, knowledge, and human capital from a global partner network. Nienke Homan is the former Regional Minister of the province of Groningen, home of the first Hydrogen Valley of the world (HEAVENN).

Alice Krekt

Directeur van NLHydrogen

NLHydrogen is de branchevereniging van de waterstofsector in Nederland. Alice maakt zich in deze rol hard voor de ontwikkeling van de waterstofeconomie in Nederland. Samen met de leden en partners zet zij zich in om de waterstofketen onderling te verbinden, te activeren en versterken. Haar ambitie: Nederland als dé waterstofhub van Europa.

Alice studeerde Sociale Geografie/Planologie. Zij werkte onder andere bij Deltalinqs, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam, ARCADIS en de gemeente Rotterdam als leider van bedrijfsonderdelen en maatschappelijk relevante projecten. In haar carrière staat de balans tussen economie en duurzaamheid centraal.

Bart Biebuyck

Former executive director, Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (JU)

Bart Biebuyck is CEO and founding member of the Green Energy Park Krk, a unique midstream facility on the island of Krk in the North Adriatic Sea. Under his leadership, it aims to handle 10 million tons of renewable ammonia shipped from several places in the world. An investment of over 0.5 billion Euros is expected and the ambition is to start operations from July 2027.

Before that, Bart Biebuyck was at the Fuel Cell department of Toyota Motor Europe where he held the position of Technical Senior Manager. His expertise in the automotive industry includes extensive knowledge related to the deployment of new technologies in the European market. It is as part of the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) programme in Berlin that Bart worked at reinforcing European trials for the Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle. He also had the opportunity to develop and expand his expertise in Japan, where he worked for two years.

In addition to his industrial experience, Bart has been politically active in his local town since 2006. In 2013 he became the vice president of the City Council, responsible, among others, for the local economy and education.

Zofia Lukszo

Steering Board member of PowerWeb Institute, Delft University of Technology

Dr.ir. Zofia Lukszo studied applied mathematics at Technical University of Lodz and philosophy at University of Lodz, Poland. In 1996 she received at the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands, the Ph.D. degree for the thesis “A Practical Approach to Recipe Improvement and Optimization in the Batch Processing Industry”. Since 1995 Zofia has been working on the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. She is there an Associate Professor in the Energy and Industry group. Besides she is the director of the SEPAM (Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management) Master Program at the TU Delft.
Her research concentrates on a wide range of problems in the way complex socio-technical systems are functioning today and can be (re-)shaped for the sustainable future. The questions she works on concern investigation of supporting technology and emerging institutions for the transition towards sustainable energy systems. Shaping smart grid, requiring additional flexibility from the users in cooperation with dispatchable power plants, storage and interconnections, forms a main pillar in her research. Zofia is a Steering Board member of PowerWeb – an interfaculty research programme on smart grids at the Delft University of Technology.

Axelle Viré

Full Professor of Floating Wind Energy and the Scientific Director of the Floating Renewables Lab at TU Delft

Axelle Viré is a Full Professor of Floating Wind Energy and the Scientific Director of the Floating Renewables Lab at TU Delft. She graduated in Mechanical Engineering at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), where she also completed a PhD in Physics. She then worked as a Research Fellow at Imperial College London (UK) before joining TU Delft. Currently, she leads a team of researchers working on the numerical modelling, experimental testing, and system design for floating offshore wind turbines and farms. She is coordinating major national and international projects on offshore and floating wind, such as “HybridLabs”, a 13m€ NWO project to accelerate Dutch innovations in offshore renewables, and the EU-funded “STEP4WIND” project focusing on the design, control, and deployment of floating wind farms. She is also the recipient of a prestigious NWO VIDI grant aimed at better understanding the aerodynamics of floating wind turbines. Next to her research activities, she is committed to increasing human capital in offshore wind energy and received an Education Fellowship at TU Delft in 2023. She is also the Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.
Outside TU Delft, she is a member of the scientific advisory board of the NoordzeeOverleg, a national body in charge of implementing the North Sea Agreement.

Ankica Kovač

Member Council of the President of Republic of Croatia for Energy Transition
Vice President of the Croatian Hydrogen Association

Ankica Kovač, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Croatia where she holds position of the Head of Power Engineering Laboratory and Hydrogen Laboratory. Ankica holds her PhD in a renewable hydrogen production. Her research interests include the whole hydrogen value chain from hydrogen production (water electrolysis in conjunction with RES), hydrogen storage, distribution, to the hydrogen usage in the fuel cells. She is the Guest Editor of the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy and Energies Journal. Ankica has authored and co-authored numbers of scientific papers published in international scientific journals and conference proceedings. She is involved in projects collaboration with other academic institutions, industry, and policy makers both on national and international level.

Ankica is the founder and chair of the Renewable Hydrogen Energy Convention – RH2EC (https://rh2ec.com), and founder of Spring Training on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. She designed the first Croatian hydrogen-powered bicycle and installed the first Croatian hydrogen refuelling station. To promote transportation based on hydrogen, in cooperation with Toyota Croatia Inc., she organized Croatia Mirai Challenge as the road trip from Zagreb to Brussels. Currently, Ankica is the project leader of ‘Securing electrical energy in the case of climate extremes and natural disasters’ within which will be a developed hydrogen core based on renewable hydrogen production and usage in fuel cell stack, for mobile and stationary applications. This project is funded through European Fund for Regional Development. Furthermore, she is the project leader of ‘Advanced methods of green hydrogen production and its transportation’ funded through the Croatian Science Foundation.

Ankica is the representative of University of Zagreb in Hydrogen Europe Research. As a member of the Executive Committee of The Collaboration Programme on Advanced Fuel Cells, she is the representative of the Republic of Croatia. Ankica is a member of the Council of the President of the Republic of Croatia for Energy Transition, vice president of the Croatian Hydrogen Association, and vice president of the Expert Working Group for development of Croatian Hydrogen Strategy. Within the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education, she is a president of the Expert Working Group for the pilot project of the mapping and forecasting for the thematic priority area Energy and Sustainable Environment. Ankica was awarded the Croatian Woman of Influence Award in the category of Leadership and Innovation.

Mikaa Blugeon-Mered

Lecturer on hydrogen markets & geopolitics, Sciences Po / UM6P / HEC

Mikaa BLUGEON-MERED is a French researcher, policy advisor, award-winning author, public speaker, and trainer specialized in hydrogen affairs, with more than 10 years of experience in the field. His research is located at the intersection of issues of space, place, security, regulation, trade flows, innovation policy and economic diplomacy, with a neo-institutionalist approach. Creator of the world’s first master’s level course dedicated to hydrogen geopolitics back in 2019, he is now an adjunct lecturer on hydrogen markets, diplomacy, and geopolitics at Sciences Po (the Paris Institute of Political Studies), on hydrogen geopolitics, geoeconomics, decarbonization and raw materials at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University’s Public Policy School (UM6P-PPS, Morocco), and hydrogen MBA projects supervisor at HEC Paris business school (France). He is also a member of the steering committee of the French Hydrogen Task Force, member of the World Hydrogen Leaders network, and co-chair of the Cleantech Business Club’s Green Hydrogen working group. In 2022, he was named “Green Hydrogen Ambassador” by the International Association for Hydrogen Energy’s Green Hydrogen Divison (IAHE-GH2).

Natasja van den Berg

Symposium chair

Natasja van den Berg is gespreksleider, auteur en medeoprichter van Tertium, een onderzoeks- en strategiebureau gespecialiseerd in burgerparticipatie. Natasja is als adviseur en kwartiermaker actief betrokken bij de strategische discussie over sociaal rechtvaardige verduurzaming en democratisering. Ze is daarmee een expert op het gebied van stedelijke ontwikkeling, de energietransitie en duurzame democratisering.

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