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Earl Goetheer, Principal Scientist TNO

“TNO is a wonderful organisation”. Principal scientist Earl Goetheer is energized by sustainable energy. After a two-year “excursion” into the commercial sector, homesickness brought him back to TNO.

“As a process engineer, I devise solutions to makes processes in the chemicals industry more sustainable. Essentially, my work is all about reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. By capturing the CO2 in flue gases, for example, and converting into other substances or storing it safely. Or by using renewable energy to produce chemicals. Apart from that, we’re investigating how to organize processes more efficiently so that they generate higher yields with less waste. TNO is big in this field: we are involved in major European projects and work for companies all over the world. We can rightly be proud of that.”

Principal scientist

“I first studied bioprocess engineering at Wageningen UR. What attracted me was the combination of organic chemistry, process engineering and separation technology. Especially in the chemicals industry, there’s a lot to be gained in that area. After that I did a PhD at Eindhoven University of Technology. And I’m now a principal scientist at TNO. That means that I’m a standard bearer in my field. I even advise the board about the organization’s research portfolio – a great honour.”

Innovation is our raison d’être

“I originally joined TNO in 2002, as a research scientist. That was my first job after my doctorate. Two years later I opted to move into the pharmaceutical industry, but after a while I started to miss TNO. In particular, the focus upon technological innovation. At TNO, that really is of prime importance – it’s our raison d’être. At TNO you also work closely with both the commercial sector and the academic world. Because we are consulting with them all the time, we find it easy to look over the fences separating us and so learn from each other. And then there’s the freedom you have at TNO: the freedom to guide projects in the direction you want, just as long as your driving force is finding a solution to a problem society is facing.”


“TNO is a wonderful organization. For me, a top day is one on which we’re able to solve an important problem for a client. That imbues me with energy, as does working with young colleagues from different disciplines. Their fresh outlook and new ideas are essential to the creative process we call research. For the same reason, I think it would be great one day to become a part-time professor at a university. The fundamental knowledge they generate is essential for TNO, which can then apply it to practical situations for businesses. Conversely, we know what problems need solutions. As a professor, I would be able to educate my future TNO colleagues in a wonderful scientific discipline.”

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