Our Team

Our multi-talented team brings together different backgrounds and expertise.

What unites us is the fact that we’re all passionately committed to contributing to the future of our planet in a way that is both meaningful, realistic and tangible. That’s why we work around the clock to bring our innovation to market and demonstrate that a true alternative to the fossil-based economy is possible.

Dr. Michael Boot

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Michael holds an MSc. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering (specialty in fuel design) and an Executive MBA from TIAS Business School. From 2009 onwards, Michael has followed a dual career path, both as an entrepreneur and as a scientist.
Michael has co-founded multiple tech startups in the biofuel, turbomachinery, biocrude, and automotive design domains, all of which are still alive and kicking. One of them is Progression-Industry BV, which commercializes various automotive technologies in the domains of waste energy recovery and biofuels. At the same time, Michael rose through the ranks of academia from PhD student (2005-2010), to part-time assistant professor (2010-2015) to fellow (2016 onwards) at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

Dr. Panos Kouris

Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer

Panos holds a MSc. and PhD in Chemical Engineering (specialty in lignocellulosic biomass conversion) from Eindhoven University of Technology. In 2017, he co-founded Vertoro, a spin-off company with the mission to valorise the IP generated during his PhD research.


Within Vertoro, he is responsible for all technological developments and to successfully scale-up the production of Crude Lignin Oil, a platform product that has the potential to decrease the carbon footprint of the chemical industry and energy sector.

Panos has been selected as 2018 Young European Talent in the  category  ‘Science’,  from  the  Nederlands.  In  2021,  he  won  the  Marc  Cornelissen Brightlands  Award,  which  is  an  incentive  prize  for  encouraging  talented  pioneers  to  persevere, show courage and leadership on the road to achieving their dream for a more sustainable society.

Mr. David Samad

Chief Commercial Officer

David, who graduated in Finance from the University of Colorado Boulder and holds an MBA from INSEAD, is a solutions-oriented business developer and investment professional.

His career to date has spanned industries, functions and countries, providing him with the ability to solve complex business-critical challenges. He was Associate in KPS Capital Partners, focused on making equity investments in manufacturing and industrial companies. David later was Executive Consultant in Magpie Polymers, dedicated to the production of selective filtration resins. His latest positions before joining Vertoro have been in Maersk, where he was Senior Manager in the Oil Trading branch and Senior Innovation Manager for the integrated logistics company A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Mr. Derk Smid

Head of Business Development

With a BA in Business Management and an MSc. in Business Management and Computing, Derk has over 25 years of global expertise, contacts and materials knowledge creating partnerships between specialty additives manufacturers, major plastic development companies, and high-performance thermoplastics manufacturing companies.
Derk worked for 10 years in various roles such as Innovation Marketing Manager in Dow Corning and was EMEA Marketing Manager in ExxonMobil for another 5 years. Later, he was at Altana for 5 years as Vice President Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing and New Business Development, prior to starting his own company in the coatings and specialty plastic additives and being director of several ones.

Prof. Emiel Hensen

Scientific Advisor

Emiel holds a PhD in the field of molecular heterogenous catalysis and an MSc. in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, both from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).
Currently, Emiel is professor in Inorganic Materials & Catalysis at this same university. Over the years, he has co-authored over 400 publications in esteemed scientific journals. He obtained the Veni, Vidi, Vidi and TOP grants from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Amongst others, he is Chairman of the Netherlands Research School for Catalysis (NIOK), Management Team Member of the National Gravitation Program Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion, Board Member of the European Research Institute of Catalysis (ERIC), and Board Member of Chemelot InSciTe.

Wendy.  hyett

Team Leader Laboratries

Wendy studied (Bachelor’s degree) organic chemistry in Rotterdam before starting her career at DSM Innovative Synthesis (part of the Life Sciences division) working on new, sustainable processes to produce antibiotics.


In 2007 she joined DSM’s Material Science Center where she worked on a wide range of projects for the different business units in DSM’s Materials division, including DSM Resins & Functional Materials and DSM Advanced Solar, and as a result built up a lot of knowledge and expertise in polymer chemistry and the analysis and characterization of polymers.

Norwin Zuidema

Project Manager

Norwin holds a BSc in Biotechnology and a MSc in Biobased Sciences (specialty in Biorefinery & Conversion) from the Wageningen University & Research. He wrote his MSc thesis on wheat straw lignocellulose fractionation via ionic liquids and subsequent catalytic upgrading of lignin into monomers. 
Norwin spent his internship at RenFuel, a Swedish start-up company that focuses on converting lignin to biofuels. As a newly graduate, he is looking forward to expanding his skills and knowledge in biorefinery and conversion to make a change in the fossil-based economy of now.

Louk Moberts

Lead Operations Engineer

After graduating in process technology, Louk started as an operator in the plastic extrusion industry. Louk has recently completed his associate degree in chemical engineering at Hoge School Zuyd to further advance his career.
Over the course of his career, he has mainly contributed to leading and training teams, and has nurtured an interest in developing and starting up new product lines and equipment.

Louk has held a wide range of positions, starting as a process technician, to supervisor, to production engineer and assistant plant manager. His experience encompasses several companies who, like Vertoro, are unique and superior in their process segments. His last position was at a PET recycling company, where he had a leading role in installing, starting, and improving the pilot plant.

Dr. David Lao Martil

Process Engineer Biorefinery

David holds a PhD in Computational Biology from the Eindhoven University of Technology, and both a MSc and BSc in Process Biotechnology from Wageningen University and Research and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He has also spent part of his career in Australia, New Zealand and Brazil. David wrote his PhD thesis on the development of mathematical models to describe how yeast ferments sugars to produce (bio)ethanol under different industrial scenarios.
Within Vertoro, David is in charge of Techno-Economical modelling. For this, he develops mathematical models to gain operational understanding and control of our demo plant and algorithms to process the data the plant produces. He is also involved on CAPEX/OPEX estimations.

Wout Ludema

Plant Manager

Wout is an admirable business and process technology-, mechanical- and materials engineer. He supports Vertoro in the chemical process installations with advice and guidance during the preparation/implementation phase of the realization or modification of chemical process installations and/or activities.
As a diligent and versatile professional with various board positions within manufacturing, surface treatment, polyurethane foam, animal feed, electronic components and cleaning agents industries. For 10 years he has been fully focused on scale-up related development processes of chemically oriented processes. His experience makes him a brilliant addition to the Vertoro mission.

Marjolein Van Den Boom

R&D technician

After becoming a lab technician in Eindhoven Marjolein went working into a broad field of subjects. From dairy food&feed to candlemaking, corona-testing (both PCR & test centre) and rubber pyrolisis, quality has always been a main focus of her work.
With the extended experience in quality & quality control she joins the R&D team into improving and expanding analytical methods to define & develop Vertoro products.