#002: Electrochemist at Energy Startup – Matthew Schuster

Published On November 1, 2015 | Chemical Eng, Engineers

Matthew Schuster received his bachelors in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Chemistry, both at Queen’s University in Canada. Throughout his studies, Matthew was involved in solar cell related research. He has been a High Quality Personnel for the Canadian Photovoltaic Innovation Network. In 2014, Matthew arrived to the Bay Area California where he currently works as an electrochemist for a British tech start up that is seeking to develop the lowest cost battery for grid level electricity storage.

In our conversation, we discuss:

  • Why he pursued a Master’s degree.
  • Tips for landing internships and research positions.
  • Being open to relocating.
  • Job hunting on craigslist.
  • His work with electrochromic glass.
  • Building energy efficiency.
  • A typical day as an electrochemist.
  • Grid scale energy buffering.
  • Qualities required to be an engineering researcher.
  • And much more…

Selected Links from the Show:

  • The Canadian Photovoltaic Innovation Network.
  • Cumulus Energy Storage home page.
  • Interview with Cumulus CEO on Bloomberg.
  • The technology behind the Copper Zinc Cumulus battery.

Reach out to Matthew Schuster via LinkedIn.

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Discussions timestamps:

3:52 – Intro
4:48 – Why engineering and why chemistry?
6:35 – Pursuing a masters right after undergrad, in fuel cell technologies and organic photovoltaics.
8:37 – Advice on securing internships.
9:17 – Developing soft skills.
10:05 – The Canadian Photovoltaic Innovation network, part of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
11:49 – Landing the job as a High Quality Personnel.
12:27 – Skills gained while marketing the PVIN.
14:26 – Moving to California in search of opportunity.
15:50 – Job hunting strategy.
16:28 – Finding jobs at start-ups on Craigslist.
17:32 – Talk about Argile company – Electrochromic window technology to tint building windows.
19:15 – Passive solar building design in ancient Greece and Rome.
20:07 – Working as a research engineer
21:55 – Talking about Cumulus batteries for grid scale energy storage for buffering.
23:36 – Explaining why Cumulus is going with Copper Zinc.
25:20 – A brief history of the Copper Zinc battery & turning Copper Zinc from a primary (single use) to a secondary battery (rechargeable).
26:49 – Changing our energy landscape.
27:53 – Qualities needed to be a great engineering researcher.