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CleanEquity Monaco 2012 Winner

In June 2012, ArcActive won the CleanEquity award for Excellence in Environmental Technology Research

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Our aim is simple: To help solve globally important problems by using our proprietary carbon material, AACarbon.™

Whether because of concerns about climate change or energy security, people and governments around the world are increasingly interested in “de-carbonising” their lives and economies.

As we’re all finding out, it’s neither easy or cheap to de-carbonise, but there are big opportunities and big rewards for those that can help (in a low cost way) with the following:

  • Energy Storage
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Low Carbon Energy Generation

With AACarbon, we can make an impact in all of these areas, and intend to do so over the years to come. To start with though, we have concentrated on Energy Storage - specifically, the negative electrode of a Lead Acid Battery (LAB).

History

Associate Professor John Abrahamson (ArcActive's CTO) was the first person to find and characterise Carbon Nanotubes  (CNTs).  In 2001, a little surprised that CNTs hadn’t found significant commercial success, John set about developing a production process to dramatically reduce the cost of CNT production.  The technology that John invented is at the core of ArcActive's technology, AACarbon.

In 2007, John met Stuart McKenzie (ArcActive's CEO) and ArcActive was founded.  While many potential applications were assessed, AACarbon's ability to dramatically improve the charging performance of LABs was identified and the huge market need for carbon-reducing automotive technologies led the company to focus on the LAB.

Why the LAB?

It may seem strange to apply cutting edge nanotechnology to one of the longest lived industrial products: the LAB.  Its longevity - it has been around for over 150 years - is due to a number of incredibly useful attributes that make it hard to displace:

  • Low cost
  • High recyclability (approximately 98% in Western Europe and North America)
  • Massive industry scale and highly efficient, mature supply chains
  • Low risk and well understood chemistry
  • High power output (important for starting an engine)
  • Good low temperature performance (important for cars in cold countries)

However, the big problem with the LAB is that it is much more difficult to charge than it is to discharge. This severely limits its usefulness in a world demanding greater fuel economy and lower carbon emissions.  The next generation of mass market vehicles (micro- and mild-hybrid cars) need batteries that can charge quickly in order to maximise the fuel saving potential of technologies such as Idle Elimination and Regenerative Braking.  In short, these technologies need much better Dynamic Charge Acceptance (DCA) and LAB's poor performance in this area is the most important topic facing the LAB industry today.

AACarbon's ability to dramatically improve LAB's DCA has given us the opportunity to enhance a fundamentally low cost technology and extend the utility of the LAB for many years to come.

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