When he’s not exercising or playing taxi dad for his three daughters, Michel Machielsen (38) prefers to tinker with his bikes. He doesn’t just repair them, he assembles them himself. His latest creation: a self-built gravel bike with which he races through the woods.
It is no coincidence that as an Operations Representative, Michel also ensures that all parts of the installation are perfectly coordinated within Project ONE. “The design must be right: operability, reliability, safety. That’s what we do here on a global level.”
Admiration for the boldness of INEOS
“Project ONE is unique”, says Michel. “Many of these projects are being built on another continent. I find it fascinating and bold that INEOS wants to achieve this in Europe. This means that the project must meet much stricter requirements. But that is completely in line with what we want in terms of sustainability and climate goals. This is why we are working with the latest technologies and are already thinking about the future, about the climate neutrality of the installation.”
And that is quite a challenge for Michel and his colleagues. “How will the factory be located, which material will we choose, which way of working will we apply, …? We will build all of that from the ground up.
Fortunately, every team member brings a lot of experience with them. For example, I personally have 17 years of experience in petrochemistry. You take that knowledge with you and that helps us to achieve an optimal way of working.”
Sustainability is a team effort
In terms of sustainability, Michel and his team are already thinking far ahead. “We want to make the unit suitable for the switch to hydrogen. It’s already going to run on a large percentage of hydrogen, but that could go up even further. We also take carbon capture and storage installations into account. However, this means that we need the necessary equipment and must make room for it in the design.”
But it is precisely this size and complexity that Michel finds so fascinating. “You can never do something like this by yourself. You are really part of your team, working with the other teams. We’re a community, actually. Together we build something, from milestone to milestone. This is how you see the project come to life and grow.”
“We’re a community, actually. Together we build something, from milestone to milestone.”
Like playing top level football
The constructive atmosphere, the freedom to tackle things, the ability to develop yourself. Michel can only compare work at Project ONE with one thing: “Playing football in the Champions League. You want to play at the top level and that was my main reason for applying at INEOS. It’s a unique opportunity. Here I have the freedom to optimise work processes and the opportunity to build something.”
The journey from design to delivery to first commissioning is something Michel prefers to experience with his colleagues as well. “It is very important to have a good mix of profiles. People with a lot of experience or who are halfway through their careers as well as recent graduates are all welcome to join the project. We need knowledge and know-how, but fresh insights are equally important. It is precisely from this that beautiful things can arise.”