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Rights: © Copyright 2014. University of Waikato. All rights reserved.
Published 9 June 2014
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Stop-start cars – whose engines stop instead of idling then start again to drive on – have much higher fuel efficiency than conventional cars. However, the lead acid ‘starter battery’ used in most cars doesn’t charge rapidly enough for a stop-start engine. In this video clip, Dr John Abrahamson (ArcActive) explains the company’s innovative approach to this problem. By adding new material to old lead acid batteries, the batteries can be made to work in stop-start engines. Nigel Johnson (University of Canterbury) gives an overview of the commercialisation process for ArcActive’s technology.

Teaching point
Students can learn more about ArcActive’s technology by visiting the ArcActive website. www.arcactive.com

Transcript

Nigel Johnson
The pressure on the car manufacturers to produce fuel-efficient vehicles is increasing. An immediate solution appears to be the stop-start vehicle, where we can get immediate savings in fuel consumption. The stop-start vehicle market requires a battery with particular characteristics, and I think we’ve got the solution that can deliver that.

Dr John Abrahamson
Every time you are at an intersection, you’re stationary, the engine stops, but then it’s got to start again, and you add up the number of stops and starts during a day’s driving, and it comes to quite a lot. Taking an old piece of gear, which is a lead acid battery, putting some new material into it to transform its capabilities – and I’m excited about that, because of the green aspect. The chemistry of the battery is still the same as the conventional battery. It’s still lead being changed into one form or another, but it does it more efficiently.

Nigel Johnson
It’s been quite an interesting journey and a good example of research leading to commercial outcomes. It’s now fully in commercial hands, and in effecting the sale of our interest in that technology, we’ve generated some revenues which have now gone back to John Abrahamson’s original department where hopefully the next great invention is going to come from.

Dr John Abrahamson
It’s not often that you get this chance in a worldwide market.

Nigel Johnson
It’s an emerging opportunity, certainly billions of dollars, and I think we’ve got a solution that can capture a large share of that.

Acknowledgement
Video courtesy of Kiwi Innovation Network Limited
© Kiwi Innovation Network Limited, 2013