Get to know Maider Usabiaga Carrera from IKERLAN

December 2023

Maider Usabiaga has been working at Ikerlan since 2001, where she has been involved in research activities, contributing to and leading national, international, and knowledge transfer projects in the field of energy, with a special focus in the last 13 years in energy storage.

Maider Usabiaga and her team at Ikerlan have worked upsizing the SAFELiMOVE technology from cell to module level to reach the 3Ah and 24V battery module demo in WP6.

What was your original motivation to become a researcher?
I was inspired to pursue a career as a mechanical engineer due to the magic and fun I experienced in mathematics and science, and the dream of contributing somehow to make this world a touch better. My journey into research on energy topics has been fuelled by this mix of STEM passion, a hunger for innovation, and a strong belief in that women have also to be part of scientific progress.

What is your (main) research area today?
I am a researcher of the Energy storage group in Ikerlan and my research areas are battery selection and lifetime, and multidisciplinary battery stack design.

What is the main objective of your team in SAFELiMOVE?
During the project, IKERLAN has been responsible for the final phase of development, to prove the validation and scalability of the developed SAFELiMOVE technology: starting from the analysis of the requirements of this new technology and carrying out the design, construction, and validation of  the module consisting of the battery system and a BMS platform. We have for example developed a customized Battery Management System (BMS) tasked with supervising and safeguarding the battery system.

What expertise and facilities does your team have to meet those objectives?
Ikerlan’s major strength lies in our multidisciplinary design and innovation capabilities: we design and develop the BMS that  manages and protects the battery, we address the modelling and design of the cooling system and the mechanical design and development of the battery, and we deal with the prototype construction and its testing in our lab facilities.

Which aspects of your research at SAFELiMOVE do you believe are the most innovative and what unique opportunities offer SAFELiMOVE to yourself and/or your organisation?
At Ikerlan, we primarily function as bridges between research and industry implementation. Solid-State Lithium Metal Batteries (SSLMBs) are an evolving technology, and engaging with them, getting an early understanding, has positioned us better to develop the necessary technologies to reach an implementation state in the near future. This enables us to assist companies in the future to integrate this new technology into their products and advance towards a more sustainable society.

How do you see the future use of the SAFELiMOVE-results and the impact of SAFELiMOVE-project in our daily lives?
Projects like SAFELiMOVE contribute by developing new technology that makes electromobility more viable, and electromobility will certainly play a role in a more sustainable future. But personally, I believe that the current climate emergency demands much more courage in action than what we are taking. I think we urgently need to reshape our economy and our way of living to swiftly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.