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Bravo Zulu International

Through battery optimizing technology, Bravo Zulo International, Ltd., or Batt-Recon, is extending battery life and creating new energy saving standards for the industrial battery industry.

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from to

by Johanna Gretschel

Bravo Zulu International The average lifespan for an automotive battery is four years. But according to Bravo Zulu International, Ltd., these same batteries can extend their lifespan to six to ten years through a simple utilization of their battery optimization technology. Battery optimization targets and minimizes accumulated sulfation, the leading cause of early battery failure and loss of capacity. The sulfation process starts when sulfur in the sulfuric acid of the battery forms sulfur crystals. The crystals attach to the battery’s lead plates and act as insulation, preventing the battery from accepting the charge and rendering it useless. What California-based Bravo Zulu offers are the Batt-Recon Rapid Sulfation Elimination System and the Zulu One ScanCommand -Control System. “Battery optimization techniques are the new energy savings standards for the industrial battery industry,” Zeier said. “The energy consumption to re-charge industrial batteries in a typical distribution center is about 30 percent of their electrical grid usage. Our data shows that about 20 to 60 percent of this charging grid electricity is wasted because of battery sulfation and charger inefficiencies, which can be dramatically reduced using battery optimization techniques developed by Bravo Zulu.“ President Bruce Zeier and his Bravo Zulu team stumbled upon the key to desulfation by chance. The company’s initial enterprise was in designing helicopter flight simulators. Their creation of the patented Heli-Trainer marked the first time student fliers were able to experience a simulation of a helicopter tail rotor system failure and a fixed wing aircraft flat spin. The simulator’s hydraulic motion-based system required the Bravo Zulu team to master the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) process. Summer 2010 3

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“The majority of work is performed by the resonant vibration induced into the cell and secondarily the electrical repulsion or normal charging effect of electrons being forced into that molecule,” Zeier said. “PWM is basically the switching on and off of a constant voltage device.” Once his technicians were highly skilled in PWM operations, Zeier wanted to investigate whether PWM could be manipulated to combat sulfation. “When we first investigated this, it wasn’t to become a manufacturer of devices, it was to attach to aircrafts,” Zeier said. Aircraft batteries are extremely susceptible to sulfation because of their initial minimal capacity, long periods of inactivity, and storage and operation in high temperatures. Sulfation in general is more common in hot climates and aircraft batteries’ standard environment is in a fairly hot climate. Zeier and Bravo Zulu’s research on PWM and de-sulfation was not intended for commercial purposes; they simply wanted more information to improve the battery life of their aircraft products. Yet as they continued gathering data, they found that there was an extensive market for de-sulfation technologies. What they first came up with was the Batt-Recon system. While Bravo Zulu’s product is admittedly not the first of its kind, as several smaller-scale products exist, Zeier calls it the first

commercially viable system. While similar products can require anywhere from eight hours to four days to complete the desulfation process, the Batt-Recon system takes just 30 minutes for most batteries. Zeier says that his Batt-Recon system has been scientifically proven to exceed the performance restoration capabilities of conventional battery optimization methods. The Batt-Recon system is also much more economical than standard methods. Batt-Recon is easily portable and can be transported directly to clients, while conventional methods dictate that the batteries must be brought to a repair facility. Zeier also says that BattRecon uses about 500 to 1000 watts of grid electricity, compared to hundreds of kilowatts used by the conventional repair process. Zeier did his homework before putting the Batt-Recon system on the market. “Our clients said they wanted a universal machine,” he said. “We don’t want five different machines to work on five different batteries.” True to form, the Batt-Recon system is universal and is just as often utilized on telecommunications batteries as motive batteries. In fact, though Batt-Recon’s current top industries rank forklifts ahead of golf carts and telecommunications, Zeier believes, based on world market demands, that will telecommunications will move to the top with forklifts and shipping close behind. “Telecommunications is the big mover here; India recently started using Batt-Recon to maintain the batteries in their 400,000 cell phone towers,” Zeier said. Zeier outlines how cell phone towers in India, as well as in African nations with a similar socioeconomic profile, are

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corporate profile | power generation

BRIGGS INDUSTRIAL Established in 1896 as the Briggs-Weaver Machinery Company, Briggs Equipment has experienced just about every industry change that has occurred in the past 114 years; but their commitment to their customers has never wavered. Serving some of the largest markets in the United States, Briggs Equipment operates 19 locations throughout Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Briggs offers new and used industrial equipment, service and parts, forklift rental and fleet management. Principle products include material handling equipment, forklifts, terminal tractors, telescoping booms, scissor lifts and railcar movers from Yale, Taylor, Ottawa, Genie and others. Ranked largest in the world by many of the manufacturers they represent, Briggs has earned a leading-edge position by developing the best people, investing in the right technology and listening to thousands of customers to better understand their goals and needs.   

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often located in remote areas. Long journeys by donkey or camel are often the only option to reach these areas. The energy used to make such trips is often unnecessary because the batteries are usually prematurely replaced. “We’re talking about millions and millions of batteries every year,” he said. Without the use of a product like Zeier’s Batt-Recon system, batteries are replaced well before their threshold has been reached. Needless energy is then invested into grinding up and re-melting the batteries to make new ones. Of course, this applies to Western civilization as well. “If you think about the energy that’s used to grind up these batteries, it’s millions of watts,” said Zeier. “The numbers are staggering on what could and is happening with respect to increasing the life of the battery.” To extract full potential from each battery, it is crucial to know how much power remains in each and to then use each accordingly. It was from this concept that Bravo Zulu unveiled the Zulu One,

which should be commercially available by the time of publication. “The Zulu One product measures cell by cell and controls the battery optimization process,” Zeier said. “The Zulu One process allows the operator to closely monitor the performance of their battery fleet on a cell-by-cell basis and determine in a scientific manner when to de-sulfate the battery maintaining their optimum performance. Zulu One does not wait until the battery is noticeably lacking in performance, rather, it allows the operator to determine the acceptable level of electrical efficiency and scientifically maintain the batteries automatically to this standard.” The ability to optimize batteries will put an end to needlessly charging batteries, which actually decreases battery operating power in addition to wasting energy. “If you don’t overcharge these batteries so much, they last longer,” Zeier said. Prematurely retired batteries are likely the warehousing industry’s largest waste product. The industry as a whole has

embraced the newfound “green” practices that promote sustainability. Yet most of their conservation centers around lighting, heating and air conditioning practices, ignoring battery waste. “If you measure the carbon footprint of wasted battery, it’s is a very large footprint,” Zeier said. ELT 1. BZi flight simulator for Pakistan Airforce. 2. BZi Simulation at a helicopter show. 3-4. BZi products including: Model 4800F Facility Industrial De-Sulfation machine and model 1000 Load tester. 5. Batt-Recon system repairing a helicopter battery. 6. BZi static flight simulator 7. President and founder, Bruce Zeier, with motion flight simulator. 8. Impedence testing class. 9. Batt-Recon booth at a Golf Conference. All photos courtesy of Bravo Zulu International.

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