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Mixtech EGM

Acid stratification has long been an inhibiting factor in the power and longevity of transportation batteries. At issue is the tendency for sulfuric acid to settle at the bottom of the battery over time, thereby upsetting the chemical balance and contributing to premature failure.

“What happens is, because that sulfuric acid solution is heavier than water, it sinks. Over time, that solution collects at the bottom of the battery causing the plates to corrode prematurely,” explains Randy Anderson, National Technical Sales and Training Manager with Canadian Energy. “Then, since the solution at the top of the plate is weaker, the plates don't have enough acid to deliver power.”

While not a new problem in the battery industry, the rise of anti-idle and start-stop vehicle systems is placing considerable strain on traditional batteries and, by extension, accelerating the effects of acid stratification. That is, while stop-start systems bring advantages in terms of reducing carbon emissions, the impact of constantly engaging and cutting the engine places an increased load on batteries, resulting in shorter lifespans.

Fortunately, this issue has also given rise to innovative solutions. And top among these, says Anderson, is MIXTECH technology: “MIXTECH is a relatively simple but effective solution to the acid stratification problem. Essentially, it's a battery that has a technological component on the inside that uses the motion of the vehicle to pump the vehicle electrolytes around the battery, keeping them mixed up.”

Moreover, he adds, the technology solves some of the common heat issues associated with larger vehicles, such as trucks and transit buses: “Highway driving can already drive up engine temperatures, but because many of today's transport vehicles are more aerodynamically designed, their batteries are getting less and less airflow. That means those batteries are getting extremely hot over time. In the case of a technology like MIXTECH, the electrolyte is being continuously pumped, so that's dissipating some of that heat around the battery.”

MIXTECH is still relatively new to the Canadian market. Originally developed in German, it's arrival from overseas is owed to Discover Energy, Canada's sole manufacturer of MIXTECH products, and Canadian Energy, the country's exclusive distributor. Looking ahead, Anderson sees the technology becoming more popular and leading the charge for more reliable and longer-lasting batteries both on the road and in other heavy-duty applications.

“For now, Discover is focused on bringing MIXTECH to vehicles that operate under tougher conditions. Then, the strategy is to have the technology available for large fleet operations, where battery problems are also more common.” he predicts, adding, “Over time, I believe you'll see major car manufacturers begin to incorporate MIXTECH in their consumer vehicles in the future –  especially models with anti-idle and start-stop technology.”

Randy Anderson is the National Technical Sales and Training Manager with Canadian Energy. For more about MIXTECH, visit www.cdnrg.com.

 

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