Team

The team developing and applying the GeoFleX-line of products consists of geographers, engineers, mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, and economists.

Guy Engelen (MSc) is an economic geographer (VU Brussels, 1977) specialized in spatially-dynamic and integrated assessment modelling and decision support systems. He has carried out numerous R&D projects in support of Belgian, Dutch, European and transatlantic government agencies with respect to: environmental, coastal zone and integrated river basin management, spatial planning, desertification and emission modelling. At VITO he leads the research team working on the analysis, simulation and optimisation of problems related to land use, renewable energy production and emissions to air and water.

Leen Van Esch (MSc) holds a degree in Physical Geography and also obtained a Master's degree in Environmental Sciences and Technology, both at KU Leuven (2002, 2003). At VITO she has been employed for ten years as a researcher within the spatially-dynamic modelling team. She worked on numerous projects with respect to land use, emission modelling and modelling of exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Also the exploration of the potential for renewable energy by means of the Dynamic Energy Atlas belongs to her core tasks

Nele Veldeman (PhD) holds a PhD in Physics (KU Leuven, 2007). She started at VITO in 2008 and now works as emission modeller within the research team Modelling Atmospheric Processes (MAP). Her expertise includes the assembly of integrated emission inventories in which local bottom-up and top-down regional emissions data are combined in a consistent manner. In addition, she is also heavily involved in developing spatial mapping tools to disaggregate the resulting emission inventories for input to air quality models. She is responsible for the content of the E-MAP tool used inter alia as emission pre-processor for different air quality models. Moreover, she assumes a coordinating role within the MAP team with respect to emission-related projects and projects on modelling of urban to regional air quality.

Erika Meynaerts (MSc, Ir) graduated as a Commercial Engineer (2000) with an additional training Environmental Coordinator level A (Hasselt University, 2004). She joined VITO’s SEB unit in 2001 to work on the reference task ‘Environmental Costing Model Flanders (MKM)’. Based on this expertise, Erika carried out various projects aimed at modelling and analysing costs and effects of environmental, climate and energy policies in Flanders. In 2011 Erika expanded her field of study to the provincial and local government. She was in 2011 part of the project team that developed the total action plan CO2 (TACO2) for Limburg province and was project coordinator of a number of studies aimed at preparing and supporting the energy and climate policy at municipal level (including Gent, Antwerp). Commissioned by the Flemish Government she is responsible for the preparation and updating of the CO2 inventory so that cities and municipalities in Flanders meet the reporting obligations of the Covenant of Mayors.

Ruben Guisson (MSc, Ir) holds a master in Applied sciences in agriculture and forestry (bio-engineering) (KU Leuven). From 2003 to 2006 he worked as project manager at PIBO, a research centre for sustainable farming, bioenergy crops and sustainable agriculture. Since 2006 he has been working as a researcher at VITO. His areas of interest are related to biomass, renewable resources, rational use of energy, energy conservation and energy efficiency in buildings, renewable energy policy, energy transition and sustainability of biomass. He has been involved in regional, national and European projects related to policy and research in the above fields. As an engineer-consultant, he provides independent hands-on information to entrepreneurs in SMEs and industry with respect to managing feasibility studies on biomass. Since 2014, Ruben is member of the Flemish Interdepartmental Platform for Bio-based Economy.

Karolien Vermeiren (PhD) obtained a master's degree in Geography and teacher training - option geography at KU Leuven (2009, 2015). From 2009 until 2015 she was employed as assistant professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences KU Leuven. Her research topic was modelling of urban growth and social segregation in developing countries. In 2015, she obtained her doctorate in this subject. Since 2014 she is employed as a researcher in VITO’s spatially-dynamic modelling team. She is involved in projects related to systems modelling, integrated land use modelling and energy modelling.

Inge Uljee (MSc) is a Mathematician with specialization Computer Sciences (VU Amsterdam, 1988). She was researcher at the Research Institute for Knowledge Systems and Maastricht University in Maastricht until 2007. Since 2007 she is collaborator of the spatially-dynamic modelling team at VITO.  Inge has made a significant contribution to the development of land use models and integrated spatial models in the team. She has extensive experience in software development in C ++ and Python under Windows and is a key figure in relation to the technical design and implementation of about 30 commercial and / or scientific software products. Inge is responsible for the implementation of the GeoFlex-line of products. She also has extensive experience in Systems Dynamic modelling, Geostatistical analysis, GIS systems and GIS-modelling.

Frank Sleeuwaert (Ir) graduated as a Civil engineer in Chemistry option environmental and biotechnology at the KU Leuven (1995) and obtained a postgraduate degree in environmental management, option environmental technology. After his studies he started in 1997 in VITO as a researcher, where he specialized in the quantification of industrial emissions to air. Since 2005, Frank works at VITO as an expert emissions, BAT-studies and emissions inventory studies for different pollutants to the air, including PM, heavy metals, VOCs, POPs, NOx and SOx. He provides consultancy and auditing for various clients ranging from industrial companies to federations and governments. He refined the Flemish emissions inventory for PM, the Flemish emission inventory for heavy metals and POPs, and developed a mathematical model to estimate fugitive PM emissions for storage and transshipment. Frank is currently developing a method for estimating uncertainty using Monte Carlo analysis as part of WEISS (and EISSys).

Nele Renders (MSc, Ir) is Master in Applied Biosciences and Engineering, with specialization in Environmental Technology (KU Leuven, 2005). She works since 2005 at VITO in the research team Energy, Emissions and Prognoses. She partook in the drafting of energy and emissions projections (greenhouse gases and air pollutants) for local authorities, the Flemish Region and the federal government. Nele made in this context the calculations for the building sector. She enhanced the Environmental Costing Model Flanders MKM 'Households and Tertiary' with a view to the modelling and analysis of costs and effects of environmental, climate and energy policies in Flanders. She also supports European governments regarding policy scenarios in the context of the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation. Within the research domain 'air emissions from building heating’, she calculated not only the emission reduction potential of the Belgian heating systems, but also the total emissions due to wood burning for heating.

Kaat Jespers (Ir) graduated as an Industrial engineer Bio-chemistry with option Environmental Technology De Nayer Instituut, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, 2000). A first short work-experience she gained at SGS-IAC where she was involved in the implementation and evaluation of dioxin analyses using high-resolution mass spectrometry. In 2001 she started in VITO as a researcher in the expertise centre Integrated Environmental Studies. Until July 2006 her main tasks were within the BAT-knowledge centre. She developed and provided content to the BAT-information desk. This work combined them to create Flemish energy balances. As of July 2006 her main tasks include the annual preparation of the Flemish energy balance, the inventory of renewable energy, and, the cogeneration inventory. In this position, she also provides energy and climate-related support to national and regional governments.

Erwin Cornelis (MSc) holds a master in Chemical Engineering (Ghent University, 1994). He has extensive and diverse experience in the energy sector. In 2001 he joined VITO after working four years for Distrigas. In VITO he did research on policies to reduce emissions and energy consumption of transport from 2001 to 2004. In 2005 he ran for Elia System Operation Program for Rational Use of Energy and oversaw the implementation of energy saving measures in the energy-intensive industry. From the end of 2005 he was the head of the Verification Office for Audit Covenant of Flanders, a long-term agreement on energy efficiency with mid-sized companies in Flanders. Once the agency was put on track, he started in 2007 research in the field of combined heat and power generation from biomass. He also assists local authorities in developing a policy on residual heat recovery and green heat. In that position he is involved in the drafting potential maps to incorporate riothermie and residual heat exchange. Erwin was vice president of COGEN Vlaanderen, the association that promotes combined heat and power generation in Flanders, and member of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE).

Els Verachtert (PhD, Ir) holds a Master of Bio-engineer in Land and Forest Management (KU Leuven, 2007). She pursued her career at KU Leuven in the Physical and Regional Geography research group and obtained her doctorate related to soil erosion (2011). As a post doc she worked on a project on urban growth in developing countries (KU Leuven, Uganda, 2011) and a consultancy assignment on sustainable agriculture (CIMMYT, Mexico, 2011). Since 2012 she joined VITO initially in the Research and Industrial Emissions research team and since 2014 in the spatially-dynamic research team. Els deploys her GIS and modelling expertise in among others projects related to location modelling, optimisation problems, energy modelling.

Maarten van der Meulen (MSc), is a Computer scientist with a minor in physics (VU Amsterdam, 1988). He was researcher at the Research Institute for Knowledge Systems and Maastricht University in Maastricht until 2006. He has over 25 years’ experience in the development of complex professional software products on the Windows and Unix platform in the areas of: modelling, optimization, artificial intelligence, Internet technology and knowledge systems. Maarten joined VITO’s spatially-dynamic modelling team in 2013 as software developer. He is responsible for the implementation of all software components of the GeoDynamiX toolbox, RuimteModel Flanders, and all the derived products for addressing spatial optimization and simulation problems. He also has extensive experience in QGIS.