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Retrofitted Thermal Heat Recovery for Vehicles



OctaFuel announced it has pioneered a new way of recovering heat and converting that into energy for the everyday motorist – another world first from a small New Zealand-based technology company, says Michael Fresnel, Co-Founder, OctaFuel New Zealand.

“Major vehicle manufacturers have already paved the way for thermal energy devices that will one day take over from the alternator,”says Fresnel, “But OctaFuel has taken a cheeky step and made thermal heat recovery a market ready concept that retrofits to any vehicle and saves up to 5% at the pump – which is a significant development.”

OctaFuel is a technology company that has already laid the foundations when it comes to retrofitting equipment that saves consumers money at the pump – with their retrofitted regenerative braking technology that converts almost any vehicle to a hybrid, says Fresnel – but he says this is different.

“Regenerative braking is an established technology that some car manufacturers already factory fit to vehicles. Thermal heat recovery, on the other hand, is still on the drawing board when it comes to factory fitted. You might say OctaFuel has stolen the march of a technology that will one day change the world when it comes to vehicle fuel consumption.”

He puts his company’s advances down to a mix of common sense, determination and the New Zealand “number eight” mentality, which he says is still alive and kicking. Simplicity is the key, says Fresnel.

“Too many well-meaning engineers get caught up in a tangle of their own making when it comes to working through the issues to find a result. They have the ability to innovate but they have forgotten that it’s not about finding the most efficient process from day one –when it comes to pioneering anything, start with the basics and find your way from there,” advises Mr Fresnel. “Perhaps that’s what’s great about the Kiwi mentality – we might be small, and the budget is always tight, but out of that comes low-cost innovation that works –because life is not about ‘rocket science’ – practical solutions are what work every time a coconut.”

The next mountain to climb and conquer is hydrogen, says Fresnel – and he believes New Zealand is well-placed to lead the way.

“Countries like Iceland have made announcements that they will be first to be fully hydrogen driven. I say – why not Aotearoa? We’ve always been a nation that buys into new technology quickly –we were first in the world to have a nation-wide EFT-POS network, we love our cars – so why not set the next precedent and take on hydrogen?”

OctaFuel, he says, hopes to have hydrogen pumps installed as early as mid 2009 in New Zealand – and will provide simple conversion kits that mean that any vehicle can run on a hydrogen/fossil fuel mix. Fresnel believes this is the intermediary step between vehicles that are fossil fuel reliant and the dedicated hydrogen vehicles that most, if not all, vehicle manufacturers worldwide have under development currently.

“Hydrogen experts say hydrogen is the fuel of the future. They say 2050 is the target year for hydrogen dominance. But ecology experts say the world may not last that long. So we need to make change happen faster, and OctaFuel is determined to make that so. We say – why not 2020? It’s just going to take a bit more focus and a lot more resolve than the efforts underway currently. I challenge those on the cutting edge of hydrogen based technologies to commit more resources to ensure we get there faster.”

Fresnel also calls on the New Zealand Government to finish what was started in 1984, when Nuclear energy was outlawed in Aotearoa, and demand more from the number one pollutant in the world – the motorcar.

“New Zealanders on the whole believe in clean and green – and it’s what we sell to the many thousands of tourists who come here to get away from polluted landscapes. It’s a tradition we’re proud of as a nation. Once the nuclear issue was the new frontier – now, it’s hydrogen – the cleanest greenest fuel on the planet. I say – let’s lead the way.”


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