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.