A NEW Lismore-based company - risen from the ashes of the failed Permo-Drive - has developed fuel-saving technology for heavy vehicles which could be worth billions.
Advanced Hybrid Solutions is the new company of former Permo-Drive shareholder Neil Hargreaves.
Permo-Drive failed to attract buyers for similar technology and, despite much-hyped talks with the US Army, went into administration with unserviceable debts in 2012.
But Mr Hargreaves, who said he lost $800,000 as an investor in Permo-Drive, believes his company has made a key breakthrough.
It's a brand new hydraulic motor able to capture braking energy at high-revs in heavy vehicles, which the Permo-Drive technology could not achieve.
HOW THE HYDRAULIC MOTOR WORKS:
- Hydraulic motor and electronics capture braking energy from heavy vehicles
- It is able to store the energy and use it to power the truck upon acceleration.
- Promises to save 30-40% in fuel costs
- Particularly suited to garbage trucks and other municipal heavy vehicles which frequently stop and start.
The energy is stored and released when the truck accelerates, saving fuel by up to 30%.
"If we'd have had this project finished two years ago it wouldn't have worked," he said.
While the company has a local partner who will trial the technology, it is seeking investors and is offering former Permo-Drive shareholders half-price shares.
Mr Hargreaves said there was no other equivalent product on the market. He was also at pains to distinguish his company from Permo-Drive.
"Permo-Drive's (product) didn't work properly," he said, and Permo-Drive "were never working for the shareholders".
"I have genuinely tried to do this on behalf of the (former Permo-Drive) shareholders."
"I want to see the technology work… Australia needs it, the world needs it.
"At 83… I still buy green bananas but I don't count on a very long life.
"I'm trying to get a team of people together to take this on."
But he said investors weren't yet lining up to invest.
"People are sort of sitting back at the moment waiting to see what happens," he said.
"They had their fingers badly burned with Permo-Drive and there's been a lot of bad publicity so they're saying 'what have you got that's different'."
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