On The Job: Eric Din
Aug 01, 2020 | by Theresa D'Orsi | Dartmouth Engineer
The Dartmouth Formula Racing 2014 team captain helped build Thayer’s all-electric race car, a feat that earned him a spot in the research lab of Professor Jason Stauth Th’00 investigating electric vehicle (EV) battery management systems. As he pursued an MS in electrical engineering, Eric Din ’14 Th’16 also learned how to design and debug circuits with the help of PhD candidate Christopher Schaef Th’16. When he graduated, Din, his two mentors, and Matt Bossart ’14 Th’15 founded Seattle-based Hive Battery Labs to improve Lithium-ion battery diagnostics.
What are the potential applications of your work?
The viability of EVs—an important part of our clean energy future—is threatened by the high cost of batteries. At Hive, we build quality control technologies to help battery cell manufacturers streamline high-cost bottlenecks in their process. Our key innovation is the ability to embed advanced electrochemical diagnostics into the first charge of a battery to build better batteries faster.
Can you share some recent highlights?
We participated in the 2019 LG Chem Battery Challenge, a technology scouting competition hosted by one of the top EV battery manufacturers in the world. We placed third out of 129 teams across 27 countries and were flown out to South Korea to meet with LG Chem’s R&D, engineering, and manufacturing teams and get a better sense of how our technology can help their business. Another highlight was working at one of the world’s biggest EV battery manufacturers last August. It was only five weeks from initial conversations about experiment design to being in their Asia labs testing their cells.
What startup lessons have you learned?
The team is absolutely one of our strongest assets. When we launched Hive, the team was entirely electrical engineers. We learned pretty quickly that customers were not interested in more data; they needed to understand the data. Now, we have a small but mighty team of five whose expertise spans power electronics, electrochemistry, data science, and software engineering. It has taken us a while to find the right skills, but we are now well suited to grow and deploy the technology.
—Interview by Theresa D’Orsi