Why did you join Altilium?
I left a large company near Oxford, looking for career opportunities in the South West which is in my (humble) opinion the best place to live in UK. There were several technical roles on offer at the time in South Devon, but the Altilium opportunity stood out.
The company was really in its infancy when I applied, with a fantastic ambition, so I took the opportunity to join Altilium and help develop that ambition into vision, culture, technical capability and expertise. Being a start-up that can be instrumental in providing energy security in the UK feels like a pretty noble calling; I joined an idea, and I hope I’m helping to leave the world in a better state than how we found it.
How do you explain what you do to other people?
We’re recycling batteries! We’re in at the ground floor of the 5th industrial revolution, building a brand new industry around revolutionary technology. I don’t think that “Big Data” is quite so sexy this year. I see more long term value and security in tangible goods, and doing tangible good for the world.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?
I don’t want to be accused of green-washing!! There is a fantastic and noble endeavour here and while our research and operations are doing great work, discovering and improving efficient approaches to managing this impending mountain of waste, we are still an industrial chemical company.
Batteries and their integration in EVs are a fantastic, revolutionizing concept and will massively contribute to the national and global ambitions of achieving Net-Zero, but they typically comprise scarce and/or toxic resources. We design our processes to be controlled, contained and efficient, reducing any wastes and actively minimizing risk to the environment, but there is no such thing as no risk or zero emissions. Our processes consume energy and resources, but our outcomes are much more favourable than traditional mining.
We have a very grave duty to our colleagues, our neighbours and our environment to employ the highest standards, and execute our operations using the best available techniques. We have to be certain of our controls and produce zero harm, especially to those who had no say in being in our vicinity. We’re driving a culture of completionism and cutting corners is not appropriate.
What makes you positive about the future?
This industry and sector is so dynamic. The internal combustion engine stood pretty still for decades, but battery technology and EVs are a developing so fast against a backdrop a diverse pressures, from resource constraints, to vested interests, to Geopolitics. There is so much opportunity here, that it is a challenge staying ahead of the curve and even properly informed about the latest breakthroughs and State of the Art.
Information and communication is everything, and Altilium is making strong partnerships with Industry leaders to help us maintain our position and drive improvement sector-wide.
How do you charge your battery?
My children don’t allow me all the sleep I probably should get, so caffeine is critical, but living in South Devon is seriously good for the soul. The beaches, the moors, and the drizzle – Glorious!