Photo by Lokesh Masania on Unsplash

There is always something exciting about being back on a college campus after you have started your career.  I’m not sure why it is so fun, but I consistently find this true. It’s also great to go full circle and be back consulting on process applications for university researchers.

Looking back at my decades in the industry, I have always supported university students and researchers in finding innovative approaches to process development. My early lectures at the University of Southern California’s School of Petroleum Engineering focused on downhole formation protection. We discussed the use of fine filtration for completion fluids, waterflooding injection, and enhanced oil recovery with gas injection. It’s something I’m still talking about today. Formation protection is critical for lithium extraction from geothermal brines when the brine is reinjected into the formation.

Later, I had the opportunity to lecture at McGill University with Professor Arun S. Mujumdar in his senior-level engineering courses about filtration and drying technologies. I was also honored to contribute to his Proceedings of the 8th Annual International Drying Symposium (IDS “92).  I authored a chapter on “Principles of Pressure Nutsche Filter-Dryer Technology.”

Over the years, my work with academia continued throughout North America as well as in Chile, Costa Rica, Ireland, the UK, and other countries in Europe. Most recently, I consulted with Professor Ugur Tuzun (OBM) on several articles about Systems Engineering and Sustainability Teaching.  Every time I stepped on those campuses I felt that frisson of excitement at being back in environments where learning thrives.

Providing industry textbook insights

Along the way, I have authored and edited two books for Elsevier which are used worldwide for solving difficult process problems. These books gave me the opportunity to convey concepts, ideas, and technical information in an accessible manner to help my readers learn the material. The first book, Handbook of Solid-Liquid Filtration, covers the basic principles of filtration, filtration testing, filter aids and filter media, types of filtration systems, selection of filtration systems, and typical operating and troubleshooting approaches.  

The second book, Integration and Optimization of Unit Process Operations, takes a holistic view of chemical operations and provides information on unit operations from the R&D stage to scale-up and demonstration to commercialization and optimization. I was able to work with a global collection of industry experts (both in academia and outside of it), with a combined 350 years of experience, to systematically discuss all innovation stages, complex processes with different unit operations, including solids processing and recycle flows, and the importance of integrated process validation. Each chapter discusses a specific step in a chemical process with design questions, troubleshooting ideas, etc.

Supporting academic innovation

Now, I am bringing my expertise in the lithium value chain to universities doing important research on lithium production, battery materials, battery chemistry and design, battery manufacturing and lithium-ion battery recycling. It’s rewarding to work with university researchers working to innovate in the field with fresh perspectives on process applications to further the electrification and circularity of the markets. The research is confidential, so I can’t go into detail. But, following a recent jaunt around a stunning campus quad in Spring, I wanted to share my enthusiasm for working out ideas with campus scientists and process engineers.

If you need to brainstorm an idea or looking for guidance and information, give me a call.  My telephone number is on every page of my website and it would be great to hear from you.  I look forward to the cell phone ring.