January 28, 2021: George Brilmyer, senior development engineer at separator firm Microporous and a well known industry figure for a generation, announced on January 25 he was planning to retire — by advertising his own job on the digital networking platform LinkedIn.
“Check out this job at Microporous, LLC: senior development engineer to replace myself as I have decided to retire!” his post reads.
He steps down in early March.
At the age of 69, Brilmyer has decided the time has come to move away from full-time work and spend more time on the golf course or fishing – although he will still be working on projects as a consultant and since his announcement has already received enquiries.
“We will all miss George,” says Claudia Lorenzini, vice president of sales and marketing at Microporous, “as both a great colleague to work with and a great asset to the firm. We regret that he’s going but we do offer him every best wish for his retirement.”
Many will know about the extensive experience Brilmyer has in the lead battery industry, having names like Johnson Controls, Atraverda, Daramic and alkaline battery companies including Duracell on his CV.
His primary interest has always been the lead battery sector, and he is confident it’s going nowhere for a while to come.
“I’ve always loved lead batteries — they are the stalwart of the battery world and at this point in time, with energy storage, solar energy and wind power the sky’s the limit for lead — it’s going to grow even more,” he says.
“Lead’s going to be here for the next 20 years in SLI applications, and with our industry coming together in a way that no other industry has ever done, with the research going on at the Argonne National Lab and what the CBI is doing, we’re tackling all the problems and we’re finding solutions.”
But the more recent collaboration is just a continuation of how the lead battery industry has always been, says Brilmyer, citing as an example the annual Battery Council International convention, in which ‘for three days, everyone puts down their rivalries, they share information, and that’s unique in any industry’, he says.
Brilmyer reiterates one of the biggest advantages of lead batteries — their ‘greenness’.
“Lithium has its work cut out in working out how to recycle, even just to get it where it’s not something toxic that has to be buried in a landfill, and I don’t see it ever becoming circular — I don’t see how the lithium guys can find a solution to recycle and then turn the products around and put them back into batteries the way we do with lead.”
Brilmyer is also acutely aware that the utilities like the general public are still unaware of lead’s capabilities.
“I built a load-levelling facility in 1986 for Johnson Controls, using lead batteries stacked to the ceiling for a brass foundry, where we used the control technology that Johnson Controls used in their air-conditioning units,” he says.
“We had it managing energy storage, shaving peaks related to electric furnaces that heated the brass for the foundry — and that was 40 years ago. People forget that there were, and are, programmes like that all over the world.
Brilmyer welcomes the work of the CBI and BCI in promoting the sector using newer marketing tools and platforms. “CBI and BCI are now telling the world about us and what we do and that’s brilliant — we’re doing it, we’ve done it — the world just doesn’t know about it.”
Brilmyer’s PhD is in analytical chemistry, with a specialization in electro-chemistry. He has had more than 30 technical publications published and has patents in chemical and engineering.