Irene kickstarted her career after a study in Economics in Amsterdam with a traineeship in the media. After gaining experience in commercial and managerial positions, Irene found her drive in the realization of a sustainable economy. This drive led her to develop and attract funding for sustainable public private innovation programs such as smart grids and digitalization of circular construction.
“The interesting thing for me about working with the industry is that they process materials step by step into end products. Innovations then have an impact on all following links in the chains. Scale is needed to produce sustainable products and the industry has this required volume. The existing industry may be less sexy than startups and scaleups, being a polarized topic of conversation in the climate debate, requiring large investments and having processes with a long lead time: the immense potential sustainability impact really inspires me to enjoy going to work every day”.
Irene’s favorite saying is: “We got two ears and one mouth and should use them in this ratio.” It means to always listen carefully and ask questions, which helps to scout business opportunities and work on innovation dreams together. “Listening makes you a trusted discussion partner, fosters connections and helps me to build bridges between different disciplines.”
The ISPT way of working? Seeing the bigger picture ánd doing, common interests, knowledge sharing.Irene ten Dam, Expert on Separations for Circularity and Carbon
“In our program Separations for Circularity we aim to create the conditions for recovering materials in a circular way boasting high quality. Such separation can be done with existing technologies such as membranes, distillation, extraction and adsorption, but also with innovative new ones. Likewise, in the Circular Carbon program we work towards the reuse of carbon in any scalable value chain. Carbon has been around since ancient times and can be found in fuels, food and drink, plastics etc. Only when carbon in the form of CO2 enters the atmosphere it starts having a negative environmental impact. We aim to tell a different story about carbon and highlight its potential for positive change.”