Meet a Nilar Employee – Henrik Wahlgren

How would you describe yourself?
As a person I am very driven, as I always like to try new things and am curious about the unknown.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
I had been working in the wind turbine industry for several years. I decided to look for something new, even though I did not know what I was looking for. When I came across this job ad for Nilar I felt like batteries was the next step within the industry. I was interested in the position because it seemed like an innovative company to me, that is still growing, and it was exciting to join it in that phase. I have been with Nilar for nearly 4 years now. 

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
For the most part, I work directly with integrators. Ive been developing new kinds of storage that could fit with the inverter from the integrator. I think its motivating to work directly with the integrators to meet the customer’s needs. There are new ideas created by both sides as we identify a need and figure out how to address it. It is very satisfying to be a participant in developing new products and solutions that can contribute to taking Nilar to new markets. I think it is cool to be a part of that.

What led you to work in the energy industry?
I would say curiosity. I have always been curious about new things, wanting to learn and try unfamiliar experiences. In the beginning, I was actually a car mechanic. From there, I transitioned into the iron industry, working for a large factory as an electrician. Then I got the opportunity to work for a wind turbine company as a technician and was promoted to Area Manager. This has brought me to where I am today.

What are some lessons learned over your career?
It has given me a broad perspective having to work my way up and learning along the way. Something important I have learned is that you need to be flexible and have good communication. 

Your favorite hobby?
As a hobby, I like to go fishing. It is how I spend most of my free time. This summer we went to the mountains and enjoyed both hiking and fishing. It mostly involved fly fishing, but I like all types of fishing. It was an interest that grew more as I got older. It is a nice way to relax, it requires patience and a great deal of focus to have some success.

A secret talent?
Something that only a few know about me is that I really like to cook. I do a lot of cooking, to the point where I do everything from scratch without any semi-processed food, using natural and preferably locally grown ingredients. I have a well-equipped kitchen, potentially with some strange tools maybe for other people, and a smoker. I would say my best and most popular dish is tacos based on Zander fish.  Cooking can involve many steps, but I find it relaxing to focus on just one thing. I like working with my hands, which also includes baking. 

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
One thing is that it’s continuously evolving, and we are moving forward. Also, I really appreciate my coworkers and all the competence that they bring to the company. It is incredible how much it feels like a community.


Meet a Nilar Employee – Mathias Forsberg

How would you describe yourself?
I think of myself more as a philosopher, in a way, instead of a hardcore scientist or engineer. It’s more that I like to take in the big picture on the problem I am dealing with, not diving into all the small details. I think it makes it easier as a problem solver to combine all the perspectives I hear into a cohesive strategy.

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I feel like I have always been within the green sector of technology in some capacity. My PhD involved exploration in LED technology. This turned into work with solar cells after my PhD was complete, since they are quite similar in physical aspect. And now I have branched into battery technology. I suppose I have been working my way through all the technologies associated with the green movement.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
I was exploring new positions and had posted on LinkedIn that I was open to new opportunities. A recruiting agent contacted me and shared the position information. In all honesty, I had not set out to go into the battery portion of the industry since it doesn’t seem to align with my background. However, once I was able to learn about the needs in the department, it was an intriguing transition to make.

What kind of work do you do with your role at Nilar?
My background is in thin film physics. Though my expertise was not in batteries, per se, I have been working with the different surface types within the battery construction. Most of my days are spent looking at any operational issues that may involve the chemistry of the internal surfaces. I am able to investigate solutions and validate experiments to understand the mechanisms involved. I do some lab work but mostly I take in data and analyze and read information from other sources. I have only been here a short time but the research I have been involved in has been interesting and I am able to bring a new perspective to it with my background.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Although most of my time is spent on the surface chemistry, I also serve as the project manager for a project involving the reuse of scrap material. We are exploring a way to reuse the positive electrode material, especially since there are no annealing or wet processes applied. This work is in collaboration with Uppsala University and a company in Norway. Work like this will not only be beneficial to the environment but will also serve as a good selling point for the battery overall.

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
I like working at small, fast-paced companies. Before I was pursuing my PhD, I had summer jobs at larger companies and did not enjoy it as much. There were strict workflows with a lot of administration and bureaucracy. Sometimes that kind of bureaucracy can feel suffocating. Here you have more freedom. I like this way of working where you have time to explore your ideas and test them out. It’s not so regimented.

What motivates you?
I do have a general interest in making a change that can help the environment, however, I left the world of academia because I wanted the feeling of creating value. I want to help make something that people want and need that is made efficiently and affordable. I want to be a part of bringing value to people’s lives.

A secret talent?
I don’t believe it is really a secret. Besides any engineering and scientific talents that I may have, it is probably painting. It is not something I may pursue as a career but I enjoy doing it for myself. I have been painting for about 10 years. It is a nice way to relax and quiet the mind. After a little break from this hobby of mine, I recently unpacked all the colors and easels, and been taking lots of time to paint over the summer.

Do you have a favorite movie?
My all-time favorite has to be 1917. It is about World War I and follows two soldiers, going through what happens in a mission they are picked for. The way it is filmed is just nonstop and it really hooks you in. The whole movie is filmed like a single scene. The movie really highlights the reality of war; that it is horrible. Other movies I have seen seem to find it hard to capture it as well as 1917.


Advantages of adapting 5S in the workplace

An unorganized workplace not only costs time and money, it also increases the risks of accidents in the work environment. Tomas Sandin started off as a Test Technician at Nilar in May 2012. Today he is working as a LEAN-coordinator, but also as operative support to the production manager and production team in their daily operations when it’s needed. Tomas is constantly curious of gaining more knowledge, both about people and techniques. His aim is to learn something new everyday. We asked Tomas Sandin a few questions about his role and why it’s important for industries to put the 5S method into practice. Take part in his answers below.

What is 5S?

5S is a tool for creating and maintaining an efficient, safe and orderly workplace. A workplace with good order significantly reduces the risk of injury, increase opportunities for better maintenance and reduces waste such as long adjustment times and scraps. Above all, it provides a more pleasant workplace.

What does 5S stand for?

  • Sort: The team go through items together. This is to identify what are essential for daily work operations and not. This includes sorting out tools, supplies, office material etc.
  • Set in order:  This step is to reduce waste and to store items based on their frequency of use.
  • Shine: Clean and remove trash. Unclean process equipment can lead to equipment failure which in turn lead to waste, lost time, safety issues and increase risks for injuries.
  • Standardize: Work instructions, checklists and other documentation are developed. If lacking clear instructions, individuals might develop their own ways of working in a way that is not in line with what was determined together.
  • Sustain: Sustain is to perform 5S on a consistent and systematic basis. The goal is to get 5S deeply rooted in the company culture.

 

As a LEAN-coordinator you must have an interest in organized environments, how come?

I have always had an unconscious attraction to the 5S system. I used to be an expert at forgetting where I’ve put belongings. If there are lots of things lying around, they have a tendency to disappear. I realized that this is a common issue, and wanted others to understand how it can easily be prevented with adaptions, structure and teamwork. If more people recognize the risks of an unorganized workplace, more people can come up with common solutions.

Since you are interested in keeping things tidy and organized, are you just as organized at home as at the work place?

I really try to be organized at home. I actually implemented a 5S system at home for important items such as car keys, wallet, scissors and my childrens gloves and beanies. These are things that always causes lots of stress, waste of time and waiting. I would love to have a pure 5S system at home, but as you might imagine, the other family members are not as motivated as me to do so.

What is something you’ve learned from 5S that you would like to tell others?

The thing you don’t leave on the floor, is one less thing for you to pick up.


Nilar welcomes trainees for Technical Internship

We are proud to announce that from September 2022, we will take part in Tekniksprånget, an internship program that aims to attract young adults to continue with higher technical education. The need for technical expertise has never been greater and the competition for engineers is intensifying. To cope with future challenges, more young people need to choose a higher technical education. Many hesitate to do so, especially young women. Tekniksprånget’s vision is to change that by motivating young adults to continue their studies within the technical field by inviting them to do practical internships.

Except the opportunity to develop solutions for a more sustainable future, our trainees have pointed out that the most exciting part of doing their internship at Nilar, is that they will get to work all over our R&D department including mechanics, chemistry, systems and production technology. The internship will not only give them insights in the company, but also provide them with practical knowledge that will be useful for future technical studies. We are excited to welcome our trainees and are looking forward to have them on the Nilar team!

Learn more about Tekniksprånget and their vision here.


New Director of the Board at Nilar

Man in a black suit is smiling and looking into the camera

Nilar gives a warm welcome to Peter Wesslau, our new Director of the Board since June 2022.  Wesslau is currently CEO at Rabbalshede Kraft AB and a board member of SmartInnovation Sweden AB. He has held a broad range of executive positions at Vattenfall including Director of Controlling, Head of Offshore Portfolio and Transactions, Project Director for Danish Kriegers Flak, Country Manager in UK and Ireland and more.

Nilar’s board currently consists of six board members, including the Chairman of the Board. The Chairman, Gunnar Wieslander, tells us he is looking forward to have Peter on the team: “With Peter Wesslau’s extensive experience and knowledge of the energy market and the on-going green transition, we are sure that he will be very valuable for Nilar in executing our new strategy”.

Learn more here about the Board of Directors at Nilar.


European Union must prioritize Energy Storage to reach Climate Targets for 2030 and 2050

Seven EU Flags in front of a grey building

The European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) recently published a study for estimating energy storage targets for 2030 and 2050. The results of the study shows that in order to support Europe’s climate targets, not only renewable energy sources must be taken into consideration, but also energy storage. The study highlights that there should be a greater focus on storage needs with the existing climate targets, especially due to the accelerated renewable buildout plan in Europe.

It is estimated that by 2050, at least 600 GW of energy storage will be needed in the energy system. This will require a ramp-up in storage deployment of at least 14 GW per year in the upcoming nine years. This is a large increase compared to the 0.8 GW per year of battery storage deployed in 2020. According to EASE, storage must become a political priority along with renewable energy sources. Without a strategy for storage, EU won’t be able to achieve a net-zero power system, meaning that exposure to fossil energy markets in that case will continue.

Read more here about the study and why storage must become a priority in relation to EU’s climate targets.


Meet a Nilar Employee – Mattias Pettersson

How would you describe yourself?
I am always eager to fulfill my tasks with results. I believe I am a humble person with a big interest in all technical matters. I suppose this started in my childhood. I was always assembling things and putting them back together. It drove my mom crazy. I would take apart the alarm clocks, my bicycle, the television; sometimes without being able to reassemble them. This has evolved over time, of course, to be a more useful interest.

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I think it was a general curiosity about the market. Also, I wanted the possibility to gain more experience within product design more aimed towards end customers. I like the idea of being close to a product that can end up making a difference for people, a product that I can be proud of.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
By coincidence, I guess. There was a headhunter that contacted me the first day after my parental leave. I think from the timing I wasn’t initially interested but I went to the interview out of curiosity about the company. Once there, I found a lot of the puzzle pieces I was looking for. I have now been here for more than 2 years.

How would you describe what you do?
In a team of four, we are divided by function. My primary focus has been battery components. I work on the casings for the battery modules, exploring different materials. A common misconception about the role of my team is that we can answer every question regarding the design of the battery. There are many aspects beyond the mechanics that are the reason behind the design.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Right now, I am part of a team is working on the creepage phenomenon. It might look simple on the surface, but there are so many factors involved. Also, we are looking into developing the next generation of modules.

What motivates you?
The belief that effort always makes a change to a better solution. Also, my family provides good motivation as well.

Early mistakes that you learnt from in your career?
I’ve learned to always take feedback from colleagues to double-check a drawing before it goes to manufacturing. It is never a bad idea to have an extra pair of eyes. I hate to find out I missed a tiny hole months later. This is the best way to avoid as many issues as possible.

Your favorite hobby?
I enjoy motorcycle riding and hiking, taking time to regain energy. I have owned a motorcycle for the last couple years but have had a license for 20 years. I enjoy riding during my free time, but I do plan to do a longer journey. My dream trip is to go to South Africa and drive through Kruger National Park. They have packaged trips that include a rental bike and a group tour, with arrangements in all accommodations. Riding alongside the elephants and giraffes would be awesome. Perhaps when my children are older.

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
I think it is my inspiring colleagues and the possibility to make an impact for the company’s future. We have a young, diverse team and everyone is open and ambitious to try. It is fun and amusing to have the possibilities to make changes and to strive towards finding the answers.


Information to owners of energy storage systems with batteries from Nilar

Information to owners of energy storage systems with batteries from Nilar,

We would like to inform you that you may be contacted by our partner Granitor in connection with inspection work. This only applies to customers in Sweden.

For questions regarding this, we refer you to contact our support department at support@nilar.com.


Increased Demands on Energy Security

solar_panels_and_wind_power

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has had a large impact on the global energy markets, meaning that policymakers must find a way to balance sustainability, security and affordability. Therefore, energy security is currently on the top of the agenda and European economies are searching for opportunities to decrease their dependence on imported fuels. Policies are already moving towards an increase in wind and solar power, but the high prices will accelerate the speed of the shift to low carbon energy even more.

To support the changing characteristics of the power generation mix, there will be a build up in infrastructure investment focusing on interconnection, transmission and distribution. This means that growth in flexible resources such as battery storage, will be critical to balance the increasingly variable nature of production. Nilar batteries utilize a bi-polar design, which contributes to making the battery a reliable source of power for more than 20 years. The production of the batteries is powered by 100 percent renewable energy and are designed, developed and manufactured in our factory in Gävle, Sweden. The unique solution that Nilar offers aligns with this current issue, and even if it’s a big challenge to overcome the current high prices, battery storage is the ultimate solution for providing energy security, sustainability and affordability today and in the future.

Read more here about the war’s impact on the global energy market and why energy security is critical in this matter.


Meet a Nilar Employee – Jim Wennmark

How would you describe yourself?
I hear from others that I am clear and concise with my communication. I feel I am very curious, and I want to know how things work and how things are connected. I constantly want to learn more.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
I was in a part-time role at a company nearby and saw the full-time position on social media. It sounded very interesting, so I took a chance. I joined Nilar in February 2020. Given the state of the world shortly after I joined, it can be considered a bit turbulent at times. However, I truly consider these last 2 years as the most exciting in my life and career so far. I have learned so much in such a short period of time. I was super positive about coming to a company where it feels everything is possible. With all the things I have experienced, I feel I have developed not only in my role, but as a human in general. 

What is the most common misconception about your role?
A common misconception about a role in management like mine is that I would have all the answers to anything asked. I have learned over time that a single person should not try to solve everything on their own. My team has the power to have all the answers and I am 100% confident in us coming to a solution together. My team’s biggest strength is their desire and eagerness to learn, and I feel Nilar supports this attitude.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
There are so many things; it has been an exciting two years. For those of us in production, it is cool to be part of the hands-on testing, being able to perform different trials. We have a different team of production engineers who perform the process design within the factory, but it has been really fun to collaborate with them and be part of the development and layout of the equipment.

It is also nice that my role involves both administrative and technical work. I feel value is made on the shop floor for us. As a production manager, it is cool to have the whole responsibility of the production process from raw material in to battery string out. To go from metal powder to tangible product is very cool.

Something you have learned from in your career?
I have a strong faith in people, which is why I highly value my team. I have learned that when managing people, you do not need to be afraid of challenging them. It is important to give people bigger tasks that they themselves do not think they can handle and support them through it. I believe that if you provide the right environment for a person, they will do their best. 

Your favorite movie or book?
It all depends on what state or mood I am in. One movie that really stuck with me is Pulp Fiction. I saw it many years ago and it still is one of my favorites. As for literature, I feel somewhat like a nerd because most books I read these days are in lean production. I feel you can spend a lifetime in just reading about it; there are so many perspectives. I think it is important to keep your knowledge refreshed and implement as you go. I truly believe the value will be in lean production.

A secret talent?
I don’t know if it is a secret, per se, at least not in my group. I love to fly fish and I am very good at casting. It is something I have done throughout my life. My father was a “fishing maniac” and started my journey in fishing, establishing it as a way of life. All my sisters have been fly fishing since they could walk. It was one of primary family outdoor experiences.

I travel all over to get the opportunity to find new areas to experience. It can be a good excuse to travel; I have been able to explore Europe through this hobby. I am fortunate that I also live really close to the sea; I can walk there and fish whenever the mood hits. I truly enjoy fishing and want to do it as often as possible. Not to brag, but I do spend a lot of hours doing it. I am proud that I introduced my wife to fly fishing.

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
It’s many things to be honest. Most importantly, it’s all about the coworkers. They are absolutely the best thing about the job. There are many amazing people that work here. I feel like there are not that many jobs where you can speak about something trivial for a moment on the shop floor and then transition into an advanced discussion about chemistry moments later. It is really amazing to have these connections.