Get to know Siim Küünal from Skeleton Technologies

Nice to meet you! My name is Siim Küünal. I have quite a versatile academic and professional background ranging from material engineering to energy application solutions. Currently I have technical grant manager role in Skeleton Technology to coordinate and achieve expected results of various publicly funded projects ranging from the materials, supercapacitor or battery cell, module development to system integration. GREENCAP-project is one of them with the focus in materials and supercapacitor cells to achieve a net-zero future.

  • What was your original motivation to become a researcher?

I am naturally a very curious person, as most of the researchers are, which has been driving me to explore and get better at things. At a certain point this led me to PhD studies in the academia and from thereon to deep tech companies such as Skeleton Technologies. It is easy for me to be in the role of a student, and I am embracing my life-long-learning mentality. In addition to that I have to say that I also enjoy making sense of things and explaining complex topics to different audiences. This ability also comes handy in research related roles.

  • What is your (main) research area today?

In Skeleton Technologies I would say that I am involved with the full value chain of our product development. This means from materials to cells to modules, systems, and their integration. Both supercapacitors and batteries are in focus. Of course, my role in R&D therefore is nowhere substantial, however big picture view suits my role well as the strategic technology or product roadmap is something I care a lot about.

  • What is the main objective of your team in GREENCAP?

Skeleton Technologies’ tasks include mainly benchmarking activities and producing supercapacitor prototype cells according to the latest industry standard. This means also overseeing our own proprietary carbon material production in-scale called Curved Graphene.  Therefore, the main objective for us is to produce an industrial high-power supercapacitor cell from the novel electrode and electrolyte materials and combine them successfully so that these would be able to compete with the KPIs (increased energy content, low resistance, …) of commercially available supercapacitor cells. This would also ensure that the results could be transferred into final products at some point.

  • What expertise and facilities does your team have to meet those objectives?

The two teams mainly involved with GreenCap project are Skeleton Material engineers and supercapacitor cell development team. For Curved Graphene we are currently up-scaling our production and cell development team has laboratory and pilot production line equipment together with cell testing machinery. As supercapacitors development has been our focus from the establishment, we also have excellent know-how about what needs to be done in order to achieve or project goals.

  • Which aspects of your research at GREENCAP do you believe are the most innovative and what unique opportunities offer GREENCAP to yourself and/or your organisation?

In my opinion the most innovative aspect is to use Curved Graphene combination with ionic liquid electrolytes. Also investigating possible novel additives for our electrode materials for efficient composite material to be able to perform well in industrial cell format. Additionally, the scale-up some of the novel materials such as MXenes is an important novelty that GreenCap could achieve.

  • How do you see the future use of the GREENCAP results and the impact of GREENCAP project in our daily lives?

Novel supercapacitor cells with increased energy-density can affect several industries, that can benefit from high-power energy storage system. These would be able to perform in mostly uncovered areas between high energy low power batteries and high-power low energy supercapacitors. Higher energy per volume and per weight results also in smaller devices and better compatibility in many fields that have specific volume and cost requirements. That means the economic feasibility of GreenCap results is an important aspect for us and Skeleton Technologies is keeping an eye on that.

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