Meet a Nilar employee March

 

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I got interested in this industry because the energy storage industry is incredibly exciting and, in general, it’s undergoing extreme progress; it is really an industry of the future. The world needs to go where we at Nilar are aiming. The grid comes with limitations, that’s where our products come into the picture. The environmental aspect is important for me; it’s also a big reason to why I wanted to apply to a company like Nilar.

What can a typical workday look like for you?
It consists of a lot of meetings with stakeholders around our project office. I spend a lot of my time involved in work with team members. I work with making sure projects proceed, trying to answer questions to move different projects forward. I have coaching sessions with my coworkers where we work on finding different methods to move forward, being solution oriented. I am passionate about proficient reports; they make it easier to evaluate the progress in different projects. In our meetings, we figure out how to get from A to B.

Early mistakes your learnt from in your career?
To always listen to feedback when it’s being given, to assimilate it. To understand that the initial plan you have may not be the best way to move forward. Sometimes it’s better to reconsider. The best outcome has usually been when I first had an initial thought and then challenged myself to rethink and to question if that is the optimal path to go down, to think completely outside the box. Even if it meant including solutions that would be outside the scope, to dare to rethink. Be critical of yourself, when you’re being challenged is when you learn.

What do you do in your free time?
I spend time with my family. I have two kids (nine and five years). A lot of my free time is spent on their activities. I train in a Swedish veteran ice hockey league; I like to play ice hockey a couple of times during the week. Now, during the pandemic, everything is closed so I built my own rink. We’re using it almost every day; it’s a fun activity for the whole family.

What’s the most important thing to consider when working with processes and projects?
The most important things are to be solution oriented and to always focus on the delivery. Planning and structure are important but a plan may need to be changed often, so it’s crucial to be solution oriented all the way. It’s essential to focus on delivery within a certain timeframe; if the scope of the project doesn’t change, it’s important to meet deadlines. You must be open to alternative solutions and rearrange the plan several times when necessary.

Who inspires you?
Good leaders. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are two examples that come to mind. A good leader is someone who is communicative, open, transparent and has the ability to inspire others.

A good book you’ve read?
Getting Things Done by David Allen has helped me a lot, both personally and in my work.

What are you looking forward to this spring?
I most look forward to being able to see friends, relatives and family again. I hope to see myself being able to hug my close ones again.

Best tip to maintain a team spirit within work groups during a pandemic?
The best tip I have is to find creative opportunities when you can’t meet up physically. Our team has met up outdoors for walks. I think it’s of great importance to have one-on-one meetings with my work team; every week we spend a half hour and talk about work as well as life in general. Creativity and communication are important for team spirit.

Best thing about working at Nilar?
The best thing is that it’s really fun and exciting every day. You always learn new things; no day is like the other. The company accelerates rapidly; it’s necessary to be solution oriented to be able to deal with all quick turns. There’s something special about Nilar employees; it’s hard to express in words. We have a strong sense of togetherness and a great spirit! I miss seeing people from across departments and look forward to when that will be possible again.


Nilar Energy and Energy+ product series

We are excited to be sharing the great news of the launch of the Nilar Energy and Energy+ batteries!

By applying expertise acquired through our predecessor, the batteries encompass multiple improvements and are made to meet a wide range of applications.

In 2018, we brought a new battery to the market by using our patented Nilar Hydride® technology, introducing a new robust sealing design, reduced volumetric footprint, increased efficiency, and improved ease in installation. This battery embodies years of gained experience and applied research and development. As this battery is deployed in numerous systems in multiple countries, we observed the nuances of the performance and evolving needs of the market and applied this knowledge towards unrelenting design enhancement. This recent product line led to insights into improvements and innovations that can only make the battery better, now and in the future.

We now introduce the Nilar Energy and the Nilar Energy+ Battery. More efficient from cell to system, both have retained the critical aspects that have become synonymous with Nilar: long term power, superior safety benefits, and environmental sustainability. The batteries showcase the Nilar Hydride® technology and modular bi-polar construction. The Nilar Energy Battery has a 10 Ah capacity, like its predecessor. A more resilient plastic was implemented into the laser-welded module casing. The Energy+ battery encapsulates all the advancements of the Energy Battery, with the addition of a capacity increase. The electrode volume contains an increase of compressed active material, leading to a 12 Ah capacity. The Energy Battery is the exceptional choice for peak power reduction and provides expedient energy for any medium power application. When more energy is essential, the Energy+ battery serves as the premier energy source. It is the optimal choice for time shifting and the steady energy achieved is invaluable for low power applications.

The other area of continuous evolution is within our battery management system (BMS). The local battery management electronics and associated programming are fully designed within Nilar; there are intricacies in efficiently managing nickel metal hydride chemistry that are best addressed in-house. Building on the experience gained through our design process and 2020 deployments, we have made several changes within the circuit design to further improve the already outstanding safety qualities, reduce costs and increase functionality. Our proprietary program has advanced in how it processes the dynamic data coming out of the battery, opening up more sophisticated capabilities. In addition, the communication with energy management systems was improved for better and more efficient interaction. The updated BMS accentuates the superior performance of the new Nilar Energy and Nilar Energy+ Battery.

“To meet the evolving global industry demands, Nilar brings these two new batteries to the market. Each has its own distinct characteristics to satisfy different circumstances, making them ideal for a wide range of applications. We are passionate about serving our customers and embracing our role within the energy transition,” says Jan Lundquist, Head of Sales & Marketing.

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ product series by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ battery pack by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ Cabinet by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ Home Box by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

Read more about the Nilar Energy & Energy+ Rack by clicking on the link below:
Read more here

 


Meet a Nilar employee January

 

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I chose to study Energy and Environment at the university because I have always been interested in technology. Climate change is a big issue, and I feel it is important to be involved and influential. Within energy, I was drawn to electrical energy because it felt the most logical. I like how electricity flow is so similar to water, picturing cables like piping. Electrical energy is such a relevant topic within the future. It is clear to me that this is where society is headed with the growth of electric vehicles and solar panels. As everything goes electric, I feel it is enjoyable to be part of societal development.

As a new employee of Nilar, what is your initial impression?
Over these last few months, I feel that I learn something new every day and have evolved in my role as an Application Engineer. I like the team spirit within the company, having experienced how many of my colleagues’ help out with tasks that are outside of their specific roles to support each other and our customers when needed.

What is the most common misconception about the industry?
It sometimes seems to be a surprise to people that you can generate your own electricity and reduce your costs, however, everyone I talk to is very positive towards a societal development towards cleaner energy.

Can you elaborate more on your master’s thesis that you completed in Kenya?
In 2019, I went to Kenya as part of my master’s thesis. There was a Swedish startup there that was converting safari cars to electric vehicles while integrating solar panels into the design to maintain a net zero consumption. My assignment was to help them modernize their production, helping to establish standardization of procedures. This would help them streamline their work, increasing how many vehicles they could convert per month. During my work, there were lots of discussions about battery selection.

What do you feel was the coolest experience you gained from that trip?
First and foremost, I met the mother of my child while there. On top of that, I had an awesome experience being immersed in another culture. I was able to go to another continent and jump into work with fully committed people. They were passionate about the same issues as me within the energy sector.

Lessons you learned in your career?
During my time at the university, I learned the importance of time management. My advice to others that are currently enrolled at a university is to enter the labor market, even if it is just every other weekend. You gain insights into how companies work and interact within the industry. It is good to have a side job during the summer and on weekends, even during holidays. It is good for meeting people and improving social skills. Also, the work experience gained is invaluable.

Who inspires you?
Right now, Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX. He is at the forefront of the technology, pushing all the markets forward. Outside the industry, it is my mother. She has always been a happy person. In life, it is the most important thing to be happy no matter where you are. She emphasized the power of having a positive attitude and not stressing over the future or the past. You should focus on living in the present.

What is a book you would recommend?
I really lean towards adventure, sci-fi and fantasy. It can be so magical when anything can happen. I enjoyed The Golden Compass with its different worlds; every chapter was something new. HBO has released a series, His Dark Materials, that highlights the full trilogy of the author. Also, I enjoyed the Hunger Games. I read the first book in high school and, once complete, I had to complete the whole series.

A secret talent?
I am really good at singing karaoke.

Best tips for staying productive?
Take advantage of the time set up for work and to always maintain a good Work-Life balance. When working from home, having a space that is arranged specifically for work hours has helped me to stay productive during work hours and being able to leave it as is once the workday ends.

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
The close teams and familial feeling. Everyone has nicknames and are able to make jokes. I really enjoy the humor. Everyone is like a family.


What to know about residential energy storage?

What to know about residential energy storage?

When making the choice to commit to an energy storage system for your home, there is a lot of information presented to you. Every company has a “great” product that can “revolutionize” your energy usage profile. The best approach is to start by setting the appropriate expectations. There is a basic misconception that any energy storage system can be dropped into your house and then amazingly the whole house stays powered during a power outage for multiple hours. It is true that there are systems that can support an island-mode/off-grid setup, which is consistent with this assumption. However, most residential storage systems on the market are not designed and sized with this in mind. Also, that kind of functionality may not be what is appropriate or cost-effective for the homeowner’s needs. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a foundation of understanding for what a system can do.

With many companies offering a home storage solution, there are specific terms that indicate what the system can do. To start, there are terms associated with where the system is located relative to the electricity meter provided by the utility company. A behind-the-meter (BTM) storage system is able to provide energy directly to the house or building where it is installed without having to interact with the electricity meter. A front-of-the-meter (FTM) system means it provides energy to off-site locations, with the energy passing through the electricity meter. For instance, the power provided by the utility is considered FTM. When thinking of a residential storage system, it is a typically BTM. There can be exceptions, such as a community storage system that serves a collection of houses where the energy distribution is monitored and regulated in conjunction with the utility, passing through the meter.

An energy storage system is typically specified with an energy value and a power value. The energy value, in kilowatt-hours (kWh), refers to the capacity of the battery. The power value, in kilowatts (kW), is mainly associated with the power conversion capability of the inverter, which is a component that interfaces the battery with the electrical box. The power from the battery is called direct current (DC) power. An inverter is sized to interface with a set voltage range of DC power. It is able to accept the DC power and convert it to the appropriate alternating current (AC) output voltage and frequency needed. The national grid codes for the installation location need to be considered since they, amongst other things, define what the output AC voltage and frequency need to be.

When you are looking into an energy storage system, the company you speak to is going to ask multiple questions to understand what you hope to accomplish. This conversation can address a number of topics. Do you already own another system, like solar panels? Are you worried about power outages and want to back up critical circuits in your home? What do you consider a critical circuit? How big of a system can you afford, or have you considered a prospective budget? Have you looked into any local subsidies available? This is just a sampling of aspects to consider.

You may be wondering: How is all of this information interpreted? To start, it is good to have a general understanding of power consumption around your home. On a macro scale, many utility companies offer their consumers the ability to obtain electricity usage data associated with their meter. This information is compiled for billing but there is also a movement to have it available in time intervals that would be useful for a homeowner to utilize when considering additions to the home.  As an example, below is a collection of utility information of the monthly energy usage for a single-family residence with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and three occupants. For this particular household, the maximum usage for any month since October 2018 is approximately 1100 kWh. This maximum could be exploited to represent a daily usage value to help size an appropriate system.

On a smaller scale, there are specifications for each appliance that can be used to estimate their power usage. There can be variations depending on specific features, but there are some general average values that can be used to get a base idea of your power consumption. When it is needed, a full plug load analysis could be performed by e.g. the company providing the energy storage system, but this kind of specificity may not be necessary or cost effective to help you. A quick infographic created by Qlabe, an information site that compiles appliance statistics, is displayed below, showing the estimated annual consumption of various items in a house. Reference the Qlabe website to find a larger list of appliances and their average annual energy usage. From the infographic, you can see that the water heater, air conditioner and electric vehicle represent the largest loads annually. There is still relatively significant usage from conventional appliances like the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, and washing machine. Another factor that will need to be taken into account for an island-mode energy storage system is the inrush current. When you turn on some types of devices, e.g. transformers and electrical motors, there is an instantaneous peak in current draw, and it is typically much higher than the steady state current that device utilizes in operation. There can be a scenario where the appliances are turned on somewhat simultaneously so an energy storage system may see a large momentary spike in current. This potential value needs to also be considered in the sizing of an island-mode inverter and energy storage system.

In any case, after this discussion with your intended supplier, there should now be a clearer understanding of how you plan to use a storage system. Maybe you need to backup essentials in case of a power outage. You may consider your electricity bill to be too expensive and you want to use a storage system overall to lower the energy used during peak periods of the day. Perhaps you have considered adding PV panels to your home, or you already have them, and want to optimize their use. It may be that you have made the investment in an electric vehicle and want to make sure the addition of the car charger has little to no impact on your electricity bill. Or it could be any combination of these needs. From here, the decision can be made as to what is most important. There is no one-size-fits-all analysis that can be done since the needs of the household varies for a number of factors, including but not limited to location, house size, type of heating, number of inhabitants, and date of house construction.

Depending on the energy and power size of the system purchased, now you can understand what can be backed up with a single system. There is a quick calculation that can be done to get a general idea. According to information from the Swedish Energy Agency and Statistics Sweden, the average daily usage of a Swedish residential customer is approximately 29 kWh. There are many variations in size, battery type and power output within the market-ready energy storage solutions. One of the smaller sizes on the residential market is a 4-kWh option. Using an oversimplification, this example system is capable of approximately 2.6 hours of storage for the average residential customer per the following calculation and an experience factor of 80% (based on the ideal state-of-charge window):

EQUATION

Granted, this is an oversimplification since an average is just that and does not represent the high and low points in usage for that household. There are also other factors to take into account such as time of day and time of year for energy consumption and other installed renewable energy sources.

This type of simplified calculations can also give you an idea of how many hours of storage you achieve with a smaller set of loads instead of an attempt at the full house. For instance, the basic loads you may want to back up are what you consider critical to maintain your comfort. This may include the refrigerator, freezer, certain lighting and outlet circuits, the internet, the computer and the coffee maker. The example 4-kWh system could support a set of devices like this for nearly 24 hours. In addition, this energy storage system could be coupled easily with additional systems to expand the coverage for a longer period or to support other necessities like small air conditioning units and electric vehicle chargers set to a low rate.

If backup is not the primary goal, the example 4-kWh system could be used multiple times in a day for peak reduction. The system could provide e.g. 4 kW continuously for a quarter-hour during three different intervals before the energy storage needs to be re-charged again. As the consumer, understanding the various idiosyncrasies associated with these decisions will ultimately lead you to a storage system you want and need.


Nilar Industry Highlights November

The State of the Energy Transition

What is the Energy Transition? That terminology is thrown around so often at this point that its meaning may have gotten skewed. The term has come to encompass so many things at once because, in actuality, it is that big. There is the general intensification of climate change, prompting more aggressive mitigation action to be taken. There is the advancement of technology leading to an increase of options for energy production while continuous innovation results in dropping costs. With the technology becoming more accessible to more people, there are areas of underdeveloped infrastructure that need to be modernized. This movement into the future is what is represented by the energy transition.

There are also multiple facets to the energy transition, ranging from outspoken individuals to national government policy implementation. One prominent voice in the movement is Greta Thunberg. At the age of 15, this Swedish teenager began with a protest to bring action against climate change outside her local parliament. She has dedicated her time to cultivating awareness and her defiance to inaction has inspired a generation. Her activism has evolved to multiple protests in more than 30 countries and, ultimately, her nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17. She continues to speak to world leaders at every forum available.

To adapt to a shifting world, there is not only a need to educate and persuade; there is a need to change the way business is done. At the recent World Economic Forum, the Davos Manifesto was presented. In general, this is a recommendation to shift from a shareholder-primacy model to a stakeholder-driven model to benefit a company’s overall performance. Financial considerations should no longer be the primary focus in decision making; businesses should consider the impacts their actions have on people and the environment. This administration of environmental, social, governance, and data stewardship (ESG&D) is as important as risk management to build trust with investors, employees, customers, and society. A company is more than its economics.

These aspects of the energy transition were true before COVID-19 emerged. Despite the global pandemic response, there have been plans established for various ways to keep the future moving forward. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a plan in June 2020 that outlined potential investments and policies that can be implemented worldwide to not only bolster sustainable development but also promote economic recovery. The investment strategy proposed primarily focus on three areas: power generation by renewables, electrification, and energy efficiency improvement. IRENA goes through where money should be focused over the next decade to achieve ambitious climate goals. The figure below represents prospective annual investments needed in each sector to accelerate progress.

IRENA also goes through different regions and where they could focus their training goals and job creation opportunities. There are different energy sector jobs suggested that can benefit struggling economies. To exhibit the job creation prospects of a new renewable energy installation, they estimated the human resource requirements needed in different areas of the value chain, as shown in the figure below.

The IRENA assessment may feel optimistic with this second surge of the virus, the basis still holds. Governmental policy will be the key to move forward. According to the International Energy Agency, government intervention will be crucial in regulating existing emissions, pushing towards cleaner, more efficient operation.  In addition, strong government funding of technological advancement is critical to make these clean electricity providers competitive and infrastructure upgrades will enable deployment.

Right now, there is hope that the goals laid out by these international entities can be achieved. In the US, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently passed orders to open up the country’s wholesale energy markets to distributed energy resources. In Europe, their COVID recovery funds included 225 billion Euro solely dedicated to energy transition projects. There was an ambitious goal to be net zero in Europe by 2050, which would be a remarkable feat considering the emissions were 3.8 GT of CO2 in 2019. In Asia, there is a surge in renewable energy projects breaking ground. Despite their recent rollback in coal plant regulations, China made a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060. This commitment should lead to infrastructure investment to lower energy intensity and reduce carbon emissions eventually. In spite of the continued uncertainty in pandemic containment, the energy transition is going strong.


Meet a Nilar employee November

 

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I studied architecture and environment in high school. I always found the technology focus within those areas interesting. Since I was a child, I have always been interested in learning how things work in practice.

 

What’s most fun about your job?
I like to be able to help people that are calling in asking for assistance. I enjoy talking to people, so my job is very social. It is gratifying to create a customer relationship and help in establishing a good impression of our company while making the customer happy. I want the customer to feel happy and seen. Every day, I learn something new about how the technology of our product works.

 

What is the most common misconception about your role?
A lot of people do not understand my role by title. They assume that since I’m working with technical support, I do programming. I do not make changes in the software but I do run checks on the data. My job is more focused on analysis and finding solutions rather than implementing the changes.

 

Tips that you would give yourself early in your career?
To be patient and understanding. When I was working as a studendt’s assistant, I learned that it’s important to try to understand the other person’s situation. I learnt that it’s important to approach things pedagogically, explaining too much rather than too little; it is important to be clear and to not take criticism personally.

 

Who inspires you?
The biggest sources of inspiration for me are my mom and my aunt, primarily their personalities and how they behave towards others. They are very warm and want what’s best for others; they are always giving a helping hand whenever someone needs it. My closest friend Carolina is also an inspiration for me. She’s working at Gävle Energi; she has a big drive and is working with energy. She always thinks 3-4 times before she says something. She’s cautious and wants to make sure she understands how things work before she speaks.

 

A good tv-show?
Suits. It’s a television show about driven people; there is a lawyer who doesn’t have a degree but is extremely good at what he does. The show indicates that you can go a long way based on your drive and personality – that anything is possible as long as you do what’s necessary to achieve the best possible result.

 

A fun project that you have been involved in?
I’m involved in the creation of new processes. It’s fun to be a part of it, see how it works, and to be able to influence the implementation.

 

A secret talent?
I have the highest attendance at Nilar’s Friday lunches at the golf course.

 

Best tip to stay productive?
Coffee, exercising and talking with friends. It’s good to maintain a social life even at a distance.

 

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
All my colleagues; there are so many nice people around. I also appreciate the nice customers calling in. It may sound cliché but it gives you so much back when you get to talk to so many nice people from all over the world.

 


EIB mentions Nilar as a practical investment in the future

 

On Wednesday November 18th, Thomas Östros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), was invited to the radio show Studio Ett on the Swedish public radio station Sveriges Radio P1. The topic of the interview was how EIB will lead the climate work of the European Union and increase their investments in climate change projects, in which Nilar was mentioned as one of the companies being subject to investments.

An excerpt of the conversation is shared below, translated to English. Listen to the full interview with Thomas Östros in Swedish, starting at 1:35:50 into the episode.
Click on the link below to find the full episode in Swedish:
Listen to the full episode here.

An excerpt from the interview with Thomas Östros that took place on November 18th:

Interviewer: Environmental organizations are sometimes critical of the efforts. For example, Greenpeace pointed out that supporting motorways should also be able to be financed by EIB’s money. And that not all cars run on electricity yet. It may not be environmentally friendly to have vehicles run by electricity depending on what country you charge the vehicle in. Was it hard to draw the line? Such as to not support new airports but new highways are ok?

Thomas Östros: There are a lot of discussions, of course, of what we should do on the roadside, where we have a technology, and where electric cars are growing more and more. However, it is a tougher calculation when it comes to whether we should be involved in investments on highways or not; expecting an ever-increasing carbon dioxide price would mean that less highways will get our support. Not everything is black and white if you want to be a symbolic politician or make a change in reality; that’s what’s important to me. Then it’s important to find a balance that works.

Interviewer: Do you think you have found it?

Thomas Östros: I think so, but it will need to adapt as technology develops. Another example in Sweden where we have invested money is a small company in Gävle called Nilar. They manufacture batteries for households; so, if you have solar panels on your roof, you don’t need to use the electricity in the same moment as it’s being produced. You can have a set of batteries in your cellar that can be used when electricity is needed. That’s also the kind of technology development that we are a part of contributing to that I believe will be more practical and useful in the future.

Studio Ett is a daily radio show on current affairs in Sweden and the world. Through the public radio channel Sveriges Radio P1, they broadcast discussions and interviews associated with these daily topics.

 


Nilar granted 47 million Euro loan from EIB

Thomas Östros, Michael Obermayer, François Gaudet and Annika Wäppling Korzinek at the House of Europe on October 2nd.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a 47 million Euro (482 million SEK) loan for Nilar. The financing is supported by InnovFin Energy Demonstration Projects of the European Commission. On the 2nd of October 2020, there was a signing event held at the House of Europe in Stockholm, Sweden, at the invitation of the European Commission.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is happy to support a company that aligns with their overall energy strategy. As of January 1, 2020, all their lending efforts have been aligned with the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement of 2016.

European Commission proud to provide financing to groundbreaking companies

The financing is supported by the “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators”, which is an offering of financial funding and advisory services through Horizon 2020 in the EU research and innovation (R&I) programme launched in 2014 by the European Commission. InnovFin Energy Demonstration Projects supports the energy transition by enabling innovative demonstration projects past the pre-commercial stages.

Nilar planning to utilize funding towards expansion of commercialization efforts

With a focus on design and innovation, Nilar batteries have evolved into the solution with the lowest cost of ownership offered on the market. This substantial loan will support the expansion and improvement of the manufacturing lines in the state-of-the-art Nilar production facility in Gävle. It will also serve as a financial boost to the research and development efforts to advance the commercial viability of the technology.

Signing Event held at the House of Europe

All parties were excited to solidify this cooperation, which serves as a significant step within the progress towards the climate targets laid out by the 2016 Paris Agreement. Click here to read our press release.

 


Meet a Nilar employee October

 

How would you describe yourself?
I consider myself to be social. In my work, I like to think I am creative while remaining detail-oriented.

 Could you tell a bit about your background/where you grew up?
I grew up in China, where I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and Technology. I moved to Sweden where I attended Uppsala University to acquire my master’s degree in Chemistry for Renewable Energy. I moved to Stockholm to attend Stockholm University. I have done 5 years of study towards a PhD in Chemistry.

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I have a general interest in the industry for a variety of reasons. I see problems in the world; some societies are lacking energy and others are suffering from a lot of pollution. Through my interest in biology, I want to be part of extending human life. My fascination with chemistry drives me to be part of growing renewable energy resources. Ultimately, I want to contribute to a more sustainable world.

How did your journey with Nilar start?
While studying at Stockholm University, I had the privilege of working on projects with Professor Dag Noréus, who served as my PhD supervisor. These projects involved research into the functionality of components within Nickel Metal Hydride batteries. It was through this work that I was able to familiarize myself with the company of Nilar. Before graduation, I was recommended to work there, and the head of R&D contacted me for an interview.

What’s most fun about your job?
I like that everything I work on is new and challenging. Especially the oxygen project, which can change the NiMH battery market. Developing a sustainable way to extend the cycle life of a battery, is revolutionizing the batteries and offering a new solution to the market.

What motivates you?
I am motivated by working in the research and development department. My job allows me to be very creative. Development of good ideas and new technologies are my main driving force.

What is the most common misconception about your role?
Many people think that batteries are for only electric cars. A lot of people are not aware of the diversity in the different chemistries or that they exist.

Tips that you would give yourself early in your career?
Focus is important for efficiency, so there needs to be a clear separation of play time and work time. Increase focus and efficiency by being good at organizing your time.

Achievement you’ve accomplished in your career that you’re especially proud of?
The oxygen refill project that I’m involved in. We have discovered a method that allows the cycle life of NiMH batteries to be extended; it makes me incredibly proud to be a part of offering a new solution that can revolutionize the battery market.

Who inspires you?
My PhD supervisor, Dag Noréus. He is very innovative and has good ideas. He gives me a lot of freedom to do things, encouraging me to work independently.

What movies do you like?
I really like sci-fi movies, Interstellar is a great motion picture – the plot is about finding a new planet for humans to live on.

A secret talent?
I am a specialist in antique Chinese porcelain. I have a passion to collect because of it’s artistic and economic value. I visit museums, take courses and follow auctions, I’m building up strong knowledge in the area of antique Chinese porcelain. The auction business in Sweden is very developed, there are many auction houses around Sweden. You can find many good antique Chinese porcelains for a relatively cheap price.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I aspire to be promoted to a management position, to be a project leader and lead a team. I feel I have many good ideas that compliment those of my colleagues. A higher-level status can mean I have more impact and influence.

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
I think my colleagues are very friendly and I have a lot of freedom in my work. I’m the only one in Gävle not being native Swedish speaker, however, I believe that in the future, more and more young international innovators will join Nilar. It’s growing very fast and we need talented young people from all around the world!


Nilar Industry Highlights October

The Financial Arm of the Energy Transition

In 2016, a momentous step in the recognition and fight of climate change began on Earth Day; this is when 175 nations came together at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York to sign the Paris Climate Accord. This signing event signified the culmination of years of UN climate negotiations to slow the rise of greenhouse gases. Since that historic day, many of the countries involved had the agreement ratified by their own governments and have started making adjustments in policy and regulations to accomplish their specific targets. Over time, the accord has influenced how many industries have approached their future planning as well. For the energy industry, one influential group, namely the banks and investment firms, could be considered the financial arm of the energy transition with their actions having an enormous impact.

In 2019, coinciding with the United Nations Climate Action Summit, there was a formalization of the Collective Commitment to Climate Change. This was a commitment by a founding assembly of 38 banks to align their lending and scale up their contribution to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.  This included a pledge to be publicly accountable for their impact and progress with defined time constraints. The logos of the founding members are collected below. Now, a year later, more than 185 banks worldwide have joined this movement towards achieving global and national sustainability goals.

During the UN General Assembly, one of the founding banks, Natixis, took their commitment a step further.  They made an announcement of a “Green Weighting Factor”, which is a mechanism to allocate capital based on climate impact. When applied, the calculated risk is decreased for green deals but increased for anything imposing negative environmental and climate impact. With this announcement, Natixis became the first bank to manage the climate risk on its balance sheet. They hope to develop this into a methodology that other banks could utilize.

Another global initiative triggered by the Paris Accord was the creation of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF). This is a global partnership of financial institutions working to create a harmonized accounting approach to align portfolios with the Paris Accord. The PCAF created a global carbon accounting standard that provides detailed methodological guidance for calculating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions financed by loans and investments for major assets. The first draft of this standard was released in August 2020 and there is follow-up work occurring with dedicated international experts to tailor the standard to different global regions.

With all of the various financial commitments made within the energy transition over time, the World Resources Institute started compiling the information associated with the world’s 50 largest private sector banks. The data shown below represents the financial commitments for 23 of the 50 banks that had been made by July 2019, with the disclaimer that the time frames vary and the target dates are not equivalent; the original commitment date ranges are shown in the figure.  There were also discrepancies in the defined strategies and specificity behind each commitment. Although this includes only half of the largest private banks, it does signify that banks are embracing their pivotal role in financing the energy transition. According to the World Resources Institute, the Goldman Sachs Group was the first of these banks to make a commitment, starting in 2012.

With this trend of environmentally aware lending, there are climate activists that still point to the enduring lending activities of some of the larger institutions. A collective of environmentalist entities put together a report summarizing the financing in the fossil fuel industry, Banking on Climate Change 2020. Within the report, they summarize the financing associated with fossil fuel investment projects between 2016 and 2019, which is plotted below. The data reflects the need for banks to adopt stronger policies if the ultimate goal is to phase out fossil fuel financing.

In early October 2020, JP Morgan Chase communicated with all of its clients a desire to reduce emissions by 2030. They started by asking companies within their portfolio to provide operation data to better understand the carbon emissions. After analyzing this information, JP Morgan Chase planned to set specific targets for their clients moving forward within a year. They also will review their own internal operations to determine emission reduction opportunities. To ensure future investments are in companies with operations aligned with the Paris Accord, they specifically launch an advisory unit to validate their prospects. It should be noted that JP Morgan Chase had previously committed 200 billion USD to “clean financing” by 2025 and had already made progress since 2016. This new announcement clarified a shift in the approach to their existing portfolio moving forward.

With compounding pressure coming from climate activists, more financial entities have begun to pledge quantitative targets. BlackRock, the world’s top fund manager, accelerated their accountability efforts in disclosing climate financial risk by joining the Climate Action 100+ group. This investor initiative pushes GHG emitters to start taking action towards climate change reduction, which had been avoided through internal voting at BlackRock in the past.  Deutsche Bank set a goal to double their green investments by 2025. They also committed to equator principles, which is a risk management framework specifically for environmental and social risk in project finance. Deutsche Bank clarified that they are also revising their internal policy towards the oil and gas industry.

These shifts are also seen amongst the public sector financers. In November 2019, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest multilateral development funder, announced that all of their future financing activities will align with the Paris Agreement to accelerate clean energy innovation, energy efficiency and renewable technologies. Over the next decade, they have designated 1 trillion Euro for climate action and environmentally sustainable investment. There was the creation of the InnovFin Energy Demonstration Programme, which is a financing tool that enables innovative demonstration projects past the pre-commercial stages. The EIB commitment was reaffirmed at the European Battery Alliance in May 2020 by noting that state-of-the-art batteries will be the heart of the energy transition.

The Paris Agreement was monumental in shifting the mindset of multiple industries. Although research and innovation are fundamental to the energy transition, financial institutions may be the ultimate key to move forward.