He wants to impact the industry and contribute to the green technology shift. He is one of the “fathers” of the alloy Kanthal® EF. Meet the purpose-driven Jesper Ejenstam, our new Head of Research and Development at Kanthal.
Initially considering a career in the space industry, Jesper Ejenstam’s first encounter with Kanthal, an Alleima company, was as a student at Uppsala University and some master thesis projects presented during an alumni day. An initiative to investigate the electrification of the lime industry caught Jesper’s attention. It was during this work that he realized that energy is the main challenge the industry needs to solve.
“This can be done more sustainably and Kanthal plays an important role in the transition. I wanted to be part of that journey”.
As his doctoral thesis, Jesper looked into next-generation nuclear power, more specifically a new lead-cooled technology with increased safety and better resource utilization. This puts extremely high demands on the material.
“I knew that the Kanthal material would meet the corrosive environment, but it also needs to withstand neutron radiation”.
This resulted in the alloy Kanthal® EF, a patent today owned by Kanthal. In parallel with his research, Jesper and three colleagues co-founded a startup company, based on innovation for lead-cooled nuclear reactors.
For Jesper, everything starts with the purpose: What does the customer want to achieve? What kind of problem do we need to solve? Kanthal can offer a solution, with our products as tools to solve the problem. In the end, it must create value for both the customer and us as a company.
What is innovation?
“For me, it is about collaborating and being curious. This is always centered around a market, a customer, or society, and what we want to achieve. R&D is one piece of the jigsaw that is developing solutions that address unmet customer needs
After more than six years in different R&D positions at Kanthal, Jesper appreciates the familiar, friendly atmosphere and the flat organization with its open-door policy. The sense of a higher purpose is highly appealing.
“Working at Kanthal allows you to ‘walk the talk’ and impact the global sustainability shift”.
When not working, Jesper tends to get engulfed by different subjects and set out to learn everything there is. After all, he is a researcher. Music is another favorite pastime, especially live music; he has been to more than 20 concerts with his favorite band Metallica. Music is also a way for him to focus. So, if you see Jesper at the office with his headphones on, he is probably getting immersed in some interesting project or assignment.
Which of our core values do you especially connect with, and why?
It is a tough question to answer, but in the end, I put “We care” on top of the list. It tells the story of why we do what we do. We care about the environment; we care about our customers' desired outcomes, and we care about each other.
Everything we do is a team effort and to be our best we need to look after each other.
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