#FaradayPathways Siddhi Barhanpurkar, University of Cambridge

Journey from Battery Day 2023 to FUSE internship and potential PhD

We are pleased to highlight Siddhi Barhanpurkar’s #FaradayPathway so far – from an undergraduate attraction event on Battery Day 2023, to a FUSE internship with About:Energy and her thoughts about possibly pursuing a PhD in the sector. Siddhi is studying materials science at the University of Cambridge.

My interest in batteries began in 2022 upon completing a literature review on lithium-sulfur batteries. I came across the Faraday Institution during my research process and was impressed at the wide range of events and opportunities for undergraduates and early careers. To get an introduction to the Faraday Institution and the UK battery industry in general, I signed up to Battery Day 2023.”

On this day in February each year the Faraday Institution community run undergraduate attraction events, both online and in-person to inspire STEM students about battery careers. With over 400,000 STEM undergraduate students studying in UK universities with skills applicable to the energy storage sector, it is a great opportunity to engage young people as they make crucial career decisions.

The impact of the investment in the Battery Day initiative in sparking interest in the sector is becoming evident – for example from Siddhi’s first-hand experience. She continues:

The first talk was by Kieran O’Regan, co-founder and COO of About:Energy. His talk resonated with me due to his passion to create meaningful impact, but also due to the challenges and redirections he faced along the way. Inspired by his story, I followed up via email to learn more about his experience and the company. Among other useful advice, he told me about the FUSE internship offered by About:Energy and encouraged me to apply. During these meetings, I was able to learn more about the dynamic, supportive company culture.”

After a couple of interviews, Siddhi was offered the eight-week FUSE internship. She continues:

Since then, I have learnt about the importance of uncertainty analysis, often a neglected topic in academic and industrial research. I completed NPL training, created an uncertainty budget and propagated this uncertainty using Monte-Carlo analysis on MATLAB. The aim of my internship was to provide a tool to help About:Energy quantify the sources of uncertainty in their measurements. I was also able to get involved with an intern project to design a battery concept, something I was entirely unfamiliar with before.”

Siddhi Barhanpurkar with the About:Energy team at their office

Siddhi Barhanpurkar with the About:Energy team at their office

Siddhi Barhanpurkar excelled in her internship, which has been pivotal in her actively considering pursuing a PhD post-graduation.

I was grateful to speak with inspiring people both in the company and in the network of senior colleagues. They gladly answered any questions I had about PhDs, and I hope to pursue this in the future. Talking to people with varying career paths has taught me to keep an open mind but also helped me figure out my priorities.”

Her supervisor at About:Energy, Dr Edmund Dickinson, Head of Electrochemistry comments, “The internship allowed a talented individual to focus fully on a scientific task that would have been operationally impossible for the About:Energy full-time team to tackle. This has advanced our scientific understanding of our processes and will improve the quality of our products. By hosting an intern we have also been able to contribute to their skills and career development – it is a valuable investment in our future talent pool!”

Improving battery models using uncertainty analysis

Siddhi Barhanpurkar went on to win the FUSE 23 scientific poster prize for visual appeal. The highly professional presentation of this poster was described as being exceptional by the judging panel who commented: Strong science was represented through a wealth of creative, well-designed figures that included the optimum level of information, pitched at the ideal level. The quality of science communication skills displayed throughout this eye-catching poster made it stand out. A compelling story was easily accessible to expert and non-expert audiences alike. This poster scored highly in all categories but ultimately it was the overwhelming strength of visual presentation that impressed the judges the most.

We wish Siddhi all the best for the next steps of her career.

Battery Day 2024 will be held on Monday 19th February. Details of FUSE 2024 will be available on the Faraday Institution website in March 2024.

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