Documentary on solar energy expert Miro Zeman gains film award

News - 15 March 2022

It isn’t often that a scientist wins a prestigious film award, but it happened last week to Miro Zeman, a solar energy expert at TU Delft. In his mini-documentary on energy transition, he elaborates on his scientific dream and how he is pursuing it at the brand new ESP Lab. The film was awarded a Green Heron during the Evening of the Corporate Film – The Golden Herons are awarded annually to the best commissioned films. The Green Heron is bestowed specifically on young film makers. 

Brand new laboratory

Miro Zeman: A story of enlightenment premiered last year. Among the audience were Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius (then Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) and Diederik Samsom (Chief of Cabinet of Frans Timmermans at the European Commission). The premiere took place at the opening of the Electrical Sustainable Power Lab, also known as the ESP Lab. This is a brand new laboratory in Delft, working on making sure that the Dutch electricity grid is prepared for the future.

Former Secretary of State Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius and solar energy expert Miro Zeman at the premiere.

Sun, sun, sun

In the documentary, Professor Miro Zeman presents his vision on how to accelerate the energy transition: ‘A sustainable power supply begins with the generation of sufficient green power. The sun, which makes a guest appearance as a guide in the documentary, plays an important role in this. One of the smart innovations we are working on in the ESP Lab is adding some intelligence to solar cells, so we can achieve maximum energy yields under highly variable shading conditions. We also design future-proof components such as new high-voltage cables and power electronics for safe and loss-free transmission of green electricity. Another resource is our Digital Twin – a large computer simulation we use to test the reliability and safety of the current and future grid. The documentary format allowed me to explain these stories in a comprehensible way, and winning a major film prize is a crowning achievement for my academic work.’


The atmospheric setting for the Golden Herons presentation was Het Huis Utrecht, a former Catholic primary school building (1896) that has been converted into a theatre. Sitting in the second row, Miro Zeman listened to the jury's verdict while flanked by Jaap Mar Diemel (camera), Morten Brogaard (sound) and Dave Boomkens (TU Delft press officer). Jury chair Noor van Scherpenzeel explained the award decision: ‘Miro Zeman: A story of enlightenment convinced the jury because of its original structure and inspiring concept. It is a great starting point for bringing scientific research to life in the charismatic person of Miro Zeman, and it used an aesthetically well-considered form as well. Concept, direction and editing were all by one and the same talented film maker – Sven Peetoom. On behalf of the jury, this was a well-deserved Green Heron for Courageous Cinema.’

Left to right: Dave Boomkens, Morten Brogaard, Miro Zeman, Jaap Mar Diemel.

Delftse Hout

Sven Peetoom, a young filmmaker from Rotterdam was responsible for final direction. He attended the ceremony digitally because of a theatre project in Switzerland: ‘We are incredibly honoured that our scientific documentary won a Green Heron. And of course we never thought that we could compete at all with other entrants such as the beautiful and valuable sustainability film from a company like Albert Heijn, or the awareness campaign about loneliness at the time of COVID-19. In addition – and I don't want to leave this unmentioned – I really enjoyed working with Miro Zeman. The fact that we watched the sunrise at 5.30 in the morning in the Delftse Hout nature reserve is something I will never forget. That was a truly magical moment.’

The ESP Lab is continuing its work of preparing the Dutch electricity grid for the future. Three lines of research play an important role: Photovoltaics, Power Electronics and Digital Technologies. The mini-documentary that sketches Miro's dream represents the Photovoltaics research line. Two other documentaries show the ambitions of Peter Palensky (Digital Technologies) and Lucia Beloqui Larumbe (Power Electronics).

Find out more about the documentaries or the ESP Lab: contact Dave Boomkens, press officer Energy Transition, at / 06 34081461.