battery technology in someone's hand

Battery Technology: Speaking at the International Seminar

battery technology in someone's handNeed more convincing that battery technology is a growing field? This week the International Battery Seminar and Exhibit takes place in Orlando, Florida. In 2022, more than 1,500 battery technologists attended. This year, the event is expected to be even larger with many speakers from around the world. I’m excited to attend and discuss battery tech with others as interested in this area as I am.

The March 20 to 23 Seminar has four streams:

  • R & D: Battery Research and Recycling
  • Manufacturing: Performance and Supply Chain
  • Engineering: Safety, Management Systems and Intelligence
  • Applications: Energy Storage Systems (ESS), Automotive and Electronics

I have the opportunity to present in the R & D stream for recycling. The focus of this stream is to review latest advances in recycling technologies for producing sustainable battery materials from different recycling sources. My presentation, “Process Solid-Liquid Separation and Drying for Geothermal Brine, Battery Material Powder and Black Mass for Recycling,” addresses a need in the market for engineers to understand solid-liquid separation and drying technologies. As lithium and battery materials production increases in scalability, engineers need to know more about automated operation for improved efficiency, reliability, and safety. This topic is also highlighted in my website’s Lithium & Battery Materials section. 

Battery technology decision making

In the lithium, battery materials and recycling market, there is a rapid proliferation of technological advances. I particularly appreciate the cross-disciplinary nature of the work worldwide.

Operating companies need “Key-Shaped” engineers who have several areas of expertise with varying degrees of depth. At each step, requirements will change. Plant personnel must continue to ask critical questions to select the optimum technologies for producing high quality materials. Especially now, with increasing time and technology pressures to produce battery grade material from various sources and to recycle production scrap and lithium-ion batteries.

The information I present provides guidance to the engineers facing these critical process technology decisions for solid-liquid separation and drying. I address considerations for the various complex steps in battery manufacturing and recycling. I’ll provide criteria for technology selection with the objective of developing creative process solutions to achieve battery grade quality and a reliable and cost-effective operation.

If you aren’t in Orlando, you can still view the presentation slides. If you’re in Florida, please contact me to discuss. Otherwise, let’s schedule a virtual meeting or call. Let us get more efficient together.

Geothermal Circular Economy and Icelandic Gin

Image source: mtch3l

“Cheers!” or as the people of Iceland say it, Skál (pronounced “sk owl”). Let’s salute another circular economy blog with a twist of liquor in it! This one looks at the geothermal circular economy and Icelandic gin.

Loyal readers may remember by blog about  the Beer Industry and Sustainable Water with a Cherry Stout. Well, as much as I like a cold beer, I also like to practice yoga and run. In the picture I’m sharing I am practicing a headstand on a trip I took to Iceland. My wife and I went and drove the Southern ring, seeing waterfalls, rafting near icebergs, hiking on the glaciers and golfing in a volcano. Iceland is a great place to visit. We particularly enjoyed the friendly people and the wonderful seafood, fruits, and Hibini Gin and Blueberry Liquors. OK, that’s enough being a travel agent.

Powering a Country with Geothermal Circular Economy

I bring up the gin and liquors because this is the basis for the blog… clean and renewable geothermal energy. A recent article in Power (April 2022), Iceland Offers Case Study of Geothermal’s Powerful Potential, describes the state of geothermal energy in Iceland and how geothermal resources generate electricity, heat homes, grow food, and support manufacture of various products.

The article informs readers all Iceland’s electricity is now produced with renewable energy sources:

  • Geothermal is a vital part of the energy mix, powering about 90% of the nation's central heating, and 30% of electricity, with hydro­power accounting for the other 70% of electricity.
  • Iceland has both high-temperature and low-temperature geothermal resources, with six geothermal power plants generating electricity.
  • Between 1990 and 2014, Iceland saw a 25% population increase, and a 1,700% increase in geothermal electricity production.

The article further discusses how Iceland is pioneering other renewable energy innovations with “geothermal parks” as well as exporting its know-how all over the world. It is an interesting read and demonstrates the potential opportunities of a sustainable economy.

Speaking of the circular economy, I am working on several projects for lithium and battery materials as well as recycling of lithium-ion batteries. Look for information to come on my website. In the meantime, contact me if you are involved in this market (or just want to talk Icelandic gins).

batteries charging

Lithium and EV Batteries & P&ID Problem Solving

batteries charging
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Worldwide decarbonization goals and the global aim for a sustainable future have prompted exponential growth in the Electric Vehicle (EV) sector in the last few years. This, in turn, has caused an increase in demand for lithium-ion batteries. Lithium, which is needed to produce virtually all batteries currently used in EVs, has also experienced an increase in demand. As the industry scales, P&ID is taking the lead to enhance knowledge of this industry and tackle lithium and EV battery problem solving.

The lithium market is both complex and very young with many different process areas. We need to consider lithium production as well as production of battery powder materials. Plus, sustainability efforts demand attention to battery production scrap recycling and proper handling of End-of-Life (EOL) batteries.

Over the past several years, I have listened to my chemical, engineering, and technology clients and the marketplace about lithium, EV batteries and sustainability & recycling. We’re seeing everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies bringing their expertise to the market. With my expertise and commitment to process filtration, drying and recycling, I can discover hidden needs and evolve solutions through innovation with the clients and marketplace. This drives me, literally and figuratively, to expand my focus into this new and exciting area.

We plan to play a role in the coordinated effort to ensure a domestic supply of lithium batteries and accelerate the development of a robust and secure “lithium-battery manufacturing value chain,” which as the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries (FCAB) puts it, can help “create equitable clean-energy manufacturing jobs” and “mitigate climate change impacts.”

Embracing Lithium and EV Batteries evolution

To capture the full process engineering spectrum, there is a new section on the P&ID website focused on Lithium & Battery Materials. We cover all aspects of (B) Brine, (P) Battery Powder Materials and (R) Recycling and Separation/Refining. Each BPR section reviews the challenges and explains the P&ID approach to problem solving in the sector.

Further, Chemical Processing has provided me with a column and the opportunity to regularly author a web-exclusive column called “Barry on Batteries.” I plan for each column to focus on a different segment of the lithium industry. The discussion will explore current processes, technologies used, challenges, and possible solutions.

Finally, I am speaking at the International Battery Seminar & Exhibition, March 20-23, 2023, in Orlando, Florida. My session will cover process solid-liquid separation and process drying for the lithium, battery powders, and recycling/refining. You can get a sense of the presentation here.

P&ID leadership and innovation will continue in 2023 and beyond with other exciting news, ideas, and projects. So, think out-of-the-box and contact me if I can help with your individual objectives and unique challenges.

model T Ford

Simplicity in Project Design

model T Ford
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I consistently talk about my 40 years in this engineering business and the friends I have made. I define “friends” as clients, competitors, colleagues, magazine editors, used equipment dealers, etc.  This blog is about what I learned from one of these friends (or her father, really) about simplicity in project design.

I was working with an engineering company based in Canada on a project in Saudi Arabia that also involved teams from Europe and Australia. Talk about a mix of time zones, languages, cultures, etc.; it was fun. The project had many moving parts. I consulted for the solid-liquid filtration topic. In 2015, I had published my first book, “Handbook of Solid-Liquid Filtration” and this was the basis for the consulting. I distributed the book to my project partners, both in hard copy and in PDF. One of the team members reciprocated and gave me a book written by her father, John Duncan, “Any Colour-So Long as it’s Black.” This book examined the design of the Model T Ford, 1906 – 1908.

John Duncan was born and educated in Australia and had a distinguished career in industry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering in Canada and New Zealand. The book discusses his grandfather’s company, Duncan & Fraser Ltd., which assembled and built bodies for the Model T Ford in Adelaide, Australia from 1909 – 1907.

Innovative brilliance and personality shape design simplicity

Now, many of us already know the Ford assembly line stories and about other aspects of the Model T. However, Duncan goes further in this book to provide a fresh and concise in-depth look at the brilliant mechanical design behind the Model T. He also explores how Ford’s own personality was reflected in the car that he created. Duncan reviews each part of the car including the structure, gears, engine, transmission and the electrical, tying the design choices to innovation and personality.

The Model T team was 12 people, working in a small office, all surrounding a rocking chair, for Henry, for thinking. As Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Thinking is the hardest thing known to man, which is the reason it is so rarely done.”

But there’s a lot to think about in the fast, 128-page read. The book also shares insights about teams working together and leadership for innovation, which resulted in design simplicity when solving problems. Those are topics near and dear to me.

Of course, I do not want to compare myself to Henry Ford. Still, I will say one thing I took away from the Duncan book, we both take an integrated and holistic approach to engineering. My new book, Integration and Optimization of Unit Operations, further reflects this approach.

Contact me and we can discuss simplicity in project design and how to build a framework for productivity and efficiency within your organization.

building relationships everywhere pins on map

Reflections & Building Relationships Everywhere

building relationships everywhere pins on map


It is now two years since I began this consulting journey and as I reflect on this time, I harken back to the words on my website – Building Relationships Everywhere. Happily, I do have colleagues, coauthors, and clients all over the world.

If I put pins in a map for my clients globally, there would be over ten countries including Italy, India, and Canada. Of course, that’s in addition to my domestic clients. The clients include startups, and universities as well as Fortune 500 companies, chemical operating companies, engineering companies, and equipment companies. I have had the opportunity to help solve process problems and to create strategies for business growth. It has been both humbling and very exciting to provide guidance and assistance to these groups. My cell phone keeps ringing and contacts via LinkedIn continue to connect and reach out to me.

I have also been fortunate to travel for client visits, on-site testing, conferences, and paper presentations. These face-to-face trips provide for a wealth of information transfer and allow for creative problem solving. Plus, I always enjoy meeting face-to-face to build relationships with new people and familiar faces.

Building Relationships in Writing Together Too

Additionally, my new book, Integration & Optimization of Unit Operations, was published in July 2022.  This book takes a different approach and provides a broader view to encourage an integrated and holistic approach to chemical engineering. A global collection of industry experts, with a combined 350 years of experience, systematically discuss specific chemical process steps with design questions and troubleshooting ideas. There’s also examination of complex processes with different unit operations, including solids processing and recycle flows, and the importance of integrated process validations.

So, what’s in-store for 2023? My consulting is expanding into lithium production, battery material powders and recycling of lithium-ion batteries and production scrap/waste. This is exciting as I hope to lead the industry to help transform it from small-scale to full-scale operations. Stay tuned for insightful columns and blogs.

Yet as 2022 draws to a close, as always, I would like to thank the collection of people everywhere who have helped me for the past two years to shape my consulting. Please keep reading my blog and my LinkedIn posts and let me know your ideas and feedback; I’d love to hear from you. I am optimistic for the future and look forward to providing you with even more meaningful content in the new year as we strive toward sustainable growth, innovation, creativity, and community to make us stronger.