July 15, 2013
The last few weeks at Imprint Energy have been full of new twists and turns. The experiment I am conducting is continuing ahead as planned and may be starting to yield results that may be fruitful to the company and change the architecture of the battery. As always, Elise and I are continually running tests, which has allowed the company to ramp up their R & D production and allowed other employees to work on developing some of their first product demonstrations. It has rapidly become clear how beneficial it is for Imprint to have the additional hands performing all these tasks to the point where there is not enough testing room for all the cells that are being processed.
Emil out to lunch with his co-workers.
As my own experiments have developed, I have been able to start to even request my own print runs. These runs are essentially how batteries are developed. I am not creating full batteries, but instead only printing individual components. This prevents the accumulation of variables and helps us analyze the specific aspects of the battery we are looking at. This has been the next step in progressing through everything that the company has to offer me and being able to utilize all of what is available to me.
As always, the startup atmosphere has continued to impress me. Daily, all the employees ask each other about their outside lives and show genuine interest in their lives outside of the workplace. This is compared to my other friend’s internships that have grown to despise office culture as it has them isolated in a cubicle. This is radically different from what I have experienced, as can be seen in the picture where the entire company is eating together.
July 2, 2013
Emil working on one of the experiments.
After the first month of work I have learned a lot about the startup atmosphere and its business model. During my third week of work we even celebrated the accomplishment of one of their largest deliverables.
At Imprint Energy each employee knows what is going on and is a part of the process to develop the products and enhance all of its aspects. Each employee has their responsibilities without having to manage too many people below them. The start-up environment at Imprint allows each person to use their creativity by allowing them to conduct their own experiments in order to see if they can improve the architecture of the batteries.
My time at imprint has started to mature to a point where I am conducting my own experiments. My first experience was testing different current collectors for the batteries to see if they react with the chemicals that Imprint uses in their batteries. This experiment has allowed me to develop my own test plan, develop a testing protocol, and carry out the analysis on different materials. It is great to be a part of the testing infrastructure at Imprint and being given the freedom to set-up my own test plan and to work autonomously to solve problems.
These past few weeks have continued to be filled with the routine of testing cells. Imprint has roughly three battery runs a week which keeps Elise (the other intern) and I quite busy on a daily basis. However, each run is starting to become more and more interesting as I am more able to comprehend what is going on internally in the battery. Based on the results of individual tests, I am starting to inform the Head Electrical and Mechanical Engineer about different successes in the battery, which helps jumpstart their analysis on the batteries and its different architectures.
June 5, 2013
The first two weeks of my internship at Imprint Energy have come with many different learning opportunities from which I have learned and grown a lot. However, the thing that has struck me the most about starting off my internship is how welcoming and excited all the employees were to have me and another intern, Elise Lim, with them for the summer.
It was not my expectation to be welcomed and appreciated at the level we were, even on the first day. All of their employees are kind and welcoming and don’t mind sharing their knowledge over frequent meals.
The work weeks have started off with the employees going out to lunch and spending the middle of the day together, getting to know each other a little more. I have appreciated this as it has allowed me, a current undergrad student, to talk with engineers who have already gone through the process I am going through. I have had the opportunity to pick their brains and ask what they wished they had done, and tips on how to get the most out of my college experience.
The small start-up in Alameda has been a great place to experience lab work and a start-up environment for the first time. The diverse group of employees work together and are available to help us integrate into their daily routines. We were trained on most of the things that they do in the first couple days and as the first week turned into the second, we were even put in charge of developing a new testing method to improve their zinc-ion batteries.