In this Q&A Bram tells us about his career so far, what our sustainability strategy means to him and why AdBlue® is an important solution for the transport sector’s transition to a cleaner future sooner.
Bram, what was your first job?
I grew up in the west of the Netherlands, which is known for being full of greenhouses growing everything from tomatoes to beans to flowers. My parents had a horticultural company, and my first job was working in the greenhouses during school holidays and as a side job during my study.
How did your early career take shape?
I’ve always wanted to understand how things work, and found maths, chemistry and physics the most interesting at school. I liked learning about how different components react with each other and how those reactions underpin the things we use in our everyday lives.
After studying analytical chemistry, I knew I wanted to continue working in science and joined DSM as a lab technician, working at the site that has evolved into the Chemelot site, which OCI Global is part of today.
What brought you to OCI Global?
I had a long career at DSM, working across technical roles to start with, but then transitioning into more business development and people-facing roles over time. While I will always be passionate about science, I knew I also needed to be in a role where I could work alongside all kinds of people, building relationships with partners and customers as well as my own team.
The part of the business I worked for in DSM was eventually sold to Intertek and then I stayed there for another 11 years, working in different commercial roles. Over that time, OCI was a customer of mine, so I came to know the company and its products. When a role came up at OCI in 2018 that brought together the technical and commercial sides of my experience, it felt like the perfect fit.
What is your role today?
I was brought in specifically to work on the development of our future AdBlue® business (European diesel exhaust fluid business). AdBlue® is a liquid made of urea and demineralized water, which can be used to reduce the amount of nitrous oxides pollution created by a diesel engine.
We broke ground on our AdBlue® facilities at Chemelot, in Geleen, the Netherlands, last year. We’ve made significant progress and are looking forward to an exciting year ahead as the site takes shape, in preparation to start delivering AdBlue® during spring this year.
What role does AdBlue® have in reducing toxic gas emissions?
AdBlue® helps reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a harmful gas mixture, into our air. It is used in combination with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) units to reduce NOx emissions from diesel engine exhausts.
Transport is a high-emitting sector, so solutions like AdBlue® are crucial for reducing all kinds of harmful gas emissions, not just carbon dioxide. While updating our transport infrastructure to minimize emissions is a complex process and will take time, AdBlue® can be used in the diesel engine exhausts of vehicles we already have to immediately minimize NOx emissions.
What does OCI’s broader sustainability strategy mean to you?
We have a responsibility to decarbonize our industry, and more widely to cut greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale to address climate change. OCI’s projects, like our clean ammonia plant we’re building in Texas, show how we’re taking that responsibility seriously and working across our industry and along value chains to cut harmful emissions and help to protect our environment.
Do you find purpose in your work?
I’ve been involved with this AdBlue® project from the very beginning, throughout working on the final set-up and now in a few months, we’ll be selling the product from the site. It’s an achievement I’m proud of and was made possible because OCI gave me the confidence and room to be part of this important project – team work did the job!
What advice would you give to those starting out in their careers?
There’s a balance to be found between learning, listening, being patient, but also in taking action when you need to. When opportunities come up – grab them, even if they mean taking a risk. Listen to what’s right for you, and if you feel like you are in a situation where you could be doing more or doing better, don’t wait for the situation to fix itself, take charge of your own career.
Reflecting on my own career, I’ve benefitted from environments where I’ve been trusted and given the room to grow and develop, and where there have been opportunities for personal development, so I’d advise those starting out in their careers to look for working environments that prioritize and support personal growth.
And to finish, what’s a surprising fact about you?
I wouldn’t call myself the most surprising person, but the breadth of my music events does surprise people. I enjoy everything from dance festivals like Mysteryland to orchestral recitals of Mozart.
To find out more about how you could have an impact in a career at OCI, visit our careers page here.