What do you do at Northvolt?
My technical background is material science – specifically new materials. My task is developing the current version of the cell, and to make good quality cells on-time and on-schedule. Another one is looking for the next generation battery. Another thing is multi-layer validation for current versions of materials and next-version. I also make samples and test the materials. I guess you can say I do a lot of different things.
Why did you join Northvolt?
I used to work at Bosch and my task there was developing next-generation batteries such as solid-state batteries. Then I realized that, “yes, that new technology is important, but what’s most important is how to make it and how to commercialize that technology into the market.” One of the things I realized was that only one technology is not enough to make a product. I thought the combination of mass production process is really important for our next generations batteries. Without those mass-production processes, we cannot make properly priced products. That’s why I joined here.
How did you hear about Northvolt?
I was at a conference that both Bosch and Northvolt was attending. I ended up sitting next to Paolo Cerruti, Northvolt’s co-founder, and we had some really good discussions, and afterwards Paolo asked me to come to Stockholm. I thought, “why not,” and now I’m here.
Was there anything that surprised you when you joined?
I didn’t have experience with a typical start-up environment, so every day is new to me. It is fast-changing, but it is good. I am used to very scheduled work and here I don’t get to experience that so it’s very different. In the beginning, it was actually quite challenging for me but now I’ve adjusted to it.
Where did you go to school?
I got my Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo and at the time I felt that the energy field was very important for the future. All machines need some kind of energy and we have to make sure that we are able to store energy for those things. I really wanted to work in this type of energy field.
What makes you tick at work?
The most exciting thing is that I have new ideas that can be really good for the future, but I cannot commercialize it by myself. I think Northvolt is a great place to work on these types of ideas because we already have a good cell design team, we have a process team, and a great department that can make great innovative advancements. One person cannot do everything, but at least I can make a difference here at Northvolt and they are providing a good platform for innovation.
What did you think about the Northvolt recruitment process?
What I felt was important was that I had time to talk to each person. I got to talk to our CEO, Peter Carlsson, and Human Resources, and the Cell Team, and so on. In Asia, we have a 30 minute or one-hour interview with everyone in the same room, so they’d ask you all the questions at the same time. That is nice because it’s shorter, but you can’t engage in discussions in the same way, and I got a lot out of the one-on-ones.
How are you finding the transition moving to Stockholm?
This summer, the day-time was too long, and in the winter, the day-time was too short. But, it’s okay. I’m getting used to it. Both me and my wife are learning Swedish. I like learning about cultures and new languages so learning Swedish is very important to me. I am originally from Korea but living and working abroad is important to me.
Apart from your job, what are you passionate about?
I love photography and I have about 30 or 40 cameras back in Korea that I’m hoping to bring over when I get relocated more permanently to Västerås.