Please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My name is Niramai Tüllner and I am originally from Thailand. I finished my bachelor’s degree in industrial chemistry from King Mongkut´s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Bangkok, Thailand in 2011. After that, I held multiple roles in industry before coming to Germany in 2018 to pursue my master’s degree. I started working at Ashland in January 2022 as a scientist with expertise in Lithium-ion battery application.
When and how did you decide to study the chemical sciences?
I was interested in science since high school; however, I did not fall in love with chemistry from the beginning. In fact, I still remember that I failed the chemistry exam in school. It was then that I made up my mind and decided I was not going to let it beat me. I studied very hard and eventually chose chemistry as a major for my bachelor’s degree.
As it turned out, the more I studied chemistry, the more I fell in love with it every day. I did not pursue a pure science or pure chemistry degree pathway but an applied chemistry degree in which I was able to learn how to apply and transfer theoretical concepts into real industries. That was very helpful for my career after I finished my studies.
What attracted you to a career in industry? Did you ever consider alternative career paths?
I had a chance to work in multiple roles in the past and I have to say those opportunities shaped me into who I am today. The journey to my current role at Ashland started when I had to choose the topic for my thesis during my master’s studies in Germany. There were many possibilities with different topics. However, I chose lithium-ion batteries because battery technology is a key part of the energy transition - a very important topic nowadays. For my master thesis, I spent six months at a well-known research institute in Germany called Fraunhofer Institute. There I learned state-of-the-art battery materials and technologies, including manufacturing processes and quality control. By the time I finished my thesis and graduated, I had a strong passion for this industry and knew I wanted to continue my career in the battery field.
For our readers who might not be as familiar with battery science, what can you tell them about what you do?
Ashland is a global, consumer market-focused additives and specialty ingredients company that is responsibly solving for a better world. I work as a scientist for lithium-ion battery application which is a part of a performance specialties business unit. My main responsibility is regional technical support for battery customers in Europe. I lead the battery laboratory in Düsseldorf, Germany where we conduct application tests to support the customers’ requests. As a part of an innovation team, we also work on projects to develop solutions for the next generation of batteries.
What is the best part of your job?
My passion is to bring Ashland's unique solutions into the battery market. In the European region, this market has been growing very quickly as we can see several gigafactories popping up in the past years to support the future demands for electric vehicles and energy storage sections. This increases Ashland’s opportunities for its position in this business and in Europe. The best part of my job is working directly with my battery customers, taking their needs into account, and working closely with sales and marketing teams to develop the best solutions for our customers.
If you could go back to your first day at your current job, what advice would you give yourself?
Rather than give advice to myself, I would like to encourage and advise people who are about to start their job. Be authentic, deliver your competencies, stay focused and control what you can control.
Niramai Tuellner has been working with Ashland since 2022. She is a scientist leading the lithium-ion battery laboratory in Dusseldorf, Germany, supporting European battery customers. This work includes conducting application tests for customers and developing solutions for the next generation of batteries through innovation. Niramai holds a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Chemistry from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Bangkok, Thailand and a Master's Degree in Material Science and Engineering from the University of Applied Science in Muenster, Germany.
This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.