Meet the future of energy: Ingrid Karlsson, Recycling Project Coordinator

What do you do at Northvolt?

I’m working within the environmental team, and my role is to coordinate the project for battery recycling. I do everything from working with the researchers, to actually develop a process in order to extract the material. I look into how we can collect our own batteries when they reach end-of-life in the market. I think one unique thing we can do here at Northvolt is that since we are actually building the batteries and the modules, we can also design for recycling. I also look into how we can design the modules to make it easier for them to be recycled and disassembled.

Why did you join Northvolt?

I had been following Northvolt’s journey for quite some time, and I ended up at an event for female engineers where a Northvolt employee was talking about the journey and her own experiences. I built up the courage to talk to her after the event and the next day I pitched a master thesis for Northvolt that was within battery recycling. I figured since Northvolt is working with sustainability and closing the loop, one of the most important things is to actually be able to bring back the batteries. I did my master thesis within battery recycling and then I got the opportunity to work with it full time. I started my master thesis in January, and when I finished I jumped on working full time in June.

Was there anything that surprised you when you joined?

Absolutely, the energy you feel when you walk into the office is just amazing. I think as a junior engineer, I got a lot of responsibility from day one. That was something new for me. But, you also get the support from the team that you need when you come into work life. I think the special thing about Northvolt is that everyone has the same goal – everyone helps each other because if you don’t, you know we won’t get there. It’s a super cool combination of having all these responsibilities and at the same time getting the help that you need to succeed.

Where did you go to school and how did you get interested in this field?

I started with engineering quite late I’d say. It wasn’t till after high school that I realized I wanted to do engineering. The majority of my friends did economics, so I studied economics as a result of that. Then I questioned myself, “why do I want to do this? Am I just doing this because everyone around me is doing this,” and I found that you could do this technical preparatory year at the Royal Institute of Technology. During that year I fell in love with the campus, the school, but also the way you are solving problems like an engineer. That’s when I knew it was the path I wanted to continue on.

What makes you tick at work?

Definitely the fast pace, the energy at the office, and just that you get to grow so fast. I get to do so many different things and not knowing what you’re going to do when you come into work in the morning is super exciting. For me, because I’m coordinating the project, I can see all the different steps in the chain so it’s everything from developing processes to figuring out how we’re going to collect batteries and disassemble them. It’s the whole loop and that is something I just find super interesting to have an insight into.

And what truly makes me tick is knowing there will be huge amounts of waste batteries on the market in the future. By being proactive and innovative we can turn that waste into a resource for our battery production of new cells.

How did you find the recruitment process?

I would say that doing a master thesis here is kind of like a recruitment process. I had been following Northvolt and I had been in contact with Northvolt for some time and during this time they had been getting to know me. I think the good thing about Northvolt is that since everyone is at the same spot, you really get to know everyone super-fast and they get to know you. During my thesis time I had presentations and you were treated as a full-time employee from day one.

Apart from your job, what are you passionate about?

I have always been fascinated by life underwater, so when I get a chance to travel you will probably find me in my diving gear.