Alumnus of the Year 2022
Jan-Maarten Geertman, Director of Net Zero Production at Heineken, has been elected TU Delft Alumnus of the Year 2022. Rector Magnificus and Chairman of the Executive Board Tim van der Hagen will present Geertman with the award during the TU Delft for Life | Xperience Day on 9 June. The event will take place live on campus for the first time since 2019.
Jan-Maarten Geertman is the embodiment of what we call 'TU Delft for Life'. As a sustainable engineer, he brings (Delft) knowledge to society. As a committed alumnus he has never lost touch with our university but puts his experience at the service of new generations of engineers.― Prof. dr. Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus en Voorzitter van het College van Bestuur
"We hope to maintain these close ties in the coming years. We would also like to continue exchanging expertise in the run-up to a climate-neutral campus in 2030", says Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus and Chairman of the Executive Board .
Jan-Maarten Geertman studied Chemical Engineering and obtained his doctorate in 2006 for his research on improving fermentation processes for the food industry. Achieving sustainability by improving processes and value chains has been central to his career ever since. As a lead investigator with the Canadian company Logen, he led research projects into the production of biofuels from renewable agricultural raw materials.
Between 2010 and 2015, Geertman led the yeast research programme at Heineken. During that time, he was responsible for establishing national and international public-private research partnerships in which TU Delft was often one of the research partners. He was behind several successful innovations after 2015, including non-alcoholic beer and the introduction of new product lines, whereby increasing the sustainability of beer production through process intensification played an increasingly important role in his work.
Between 2018 and 2022 – during the Brexit period – Geertman was Manager of Supply Chain Support at Heineken UK in Manchester. Here, too, he was responsible for process innovation in the field of sustainability. In the ‘Green Grip’ project, for example, plastic beer can packaging was completely replaced with renewable, biodegradable materials at three large production sites.
Since this year, he has been leading the transition to climate-neutral beer production at all of Heineken’s 188 production sites worldwide, to be achieved by 2030. Eliminating greenhouse gases plays a role in the entire food industry, so Geertman’s influence as a pioneer extends far beyond the brewing sector.
Staying involved with TU Delft
Throughout his highly successful career in the industry, he has always remained involved with TU Delft by supporting the university’s research and education. He is currently the chairman of the Biotechnology Academy Delft, which organises post-initial education through the Biotechnology department, including advanced courses for researchers and PhD students from the industry. He also regularly serves as a sounding board for individual researchers, for example on career issues.