Christchurch's ArcActive launches green battery technology

Kiwi company ArcActive Limited has unveiled its new green battery technology at the recent CleanEquity Monaco awards, where it picked up a prize for excellence in environmental technology research.

Kiwi company ArcActive Limited has unveiled its new green battery technology at the recent CleanEquity Monaco awards, where it picked up a prize for excellence in environmental technology research.

Christchurch's ArcActiveChristchurch-based ArcActive –  a spin-out company from the University of Canterbury – is developing new negative electrodes for lead acid batteries for use in start/stop and micro hybrid vehicles.

ArcActive chief executive Stuart McKenzie says the market for start/stop batteries is forecast to grow from 5 million batteries per year in 2011 to 39 million per year by 2017 and nearly 100 million per year by 2020. Cars using ArcActive lead acid batteries will have a longer life and consume 10 percent less fuel, compared to 2-4 percent if using alternate technology AGM batteries at no extra coast, he says.

“The auto industry is undergoing a quiet revolution towards green cars.  Conventional lead-acid batteries can’t cope with the cycle demands for micro-hybrids and would only last a matter of weeks.  So the race is on to develop new battery technology for these cars."

McKenzie says their batteries have been tested and the company is now working on scaling up the technology and building partnerships with companies to progress product development and manufacturing.

ArcActive electrodes stem from processing technology for carbon materials developed by Dr John Abrahamson of the University of Canterbury, which he says enables carbon nanotube based devices that were previously seen as being not commercially viable to be made. The University of Canterbury project received early support via a $225,000 KiwiNet pre-seed investment from the Ministry of Science and Innovation to prove the technology. 

The CleanEquity conference offered a sneak preview of next-wave cleantech and associated commercial opportunities,  sourced and screened by Innovator Capital, a boutique investment bank with a focus on cleantech.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco audited the judging process and awarded the prizes.

The gong for excellence in environmental technology development went to GreenCom Networks, a German company enabling distributed energy management for utilities with its energy information brokerage platform.

And the award for environmental technology commercialisation went to Tendril, a US energy platform company delivering end-to-end consumer engagement products, applications and services.