This is the fifth post of our new interview series to introduce our eight finalists in the week leading up to the Launch finals. To see ABA Power and other teams pitching on the big stage, come to the Launch finals at Kresge Auditorium on May 11!

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Team Name: ABA Power

Team Members: Jonathan Slocum, Douglas Hart, Uri Pelli

Q: Give us a 1-sentence pitch of your idea!

A: ABA Power eliminates grid dependency - it provides clean energy in a compact package, up to 30 times more energy dense than Lithium batteries, completely silent, requires no oxygen, and produces no harmful emissions.

Q: Tell us about your ‘aha moment!

A:  Aluminum has long been recognized as having a great potential as a power source due to its extreme energy density. The challenge lies in bypassing a very stable and naturally forming oxide coating that protects aluminum. A century of research yielded complex, expensive and impractical solutions.
Jonathan worked with aluminum as an energy source for a military application he was developing in Douglas Hart’s capstone design course. An experiment he was running ultimately failed its intended purpose. Upon further inspection and out of plain curiosity, Jonathan reacted his failed experiment and discovered a new aluminum fuel that reacts with water.

Q: Wow, so why did you decide to apply to the 100K?

A: The 100K allows us to further develop and perfect our business plan as well as expose us to experts and industry connections and provide us funds that will allow us to hit our technological milestones. It is an opportunity that will set us up to secure further funding and is a great overall stepping stone that puts us out in the spotlight.

Q: What's the biggest challenge you've faced so far in pursuing your idea?

A: Due to the long history of failed attempts at aluminum fuels and power systems, there is significant skepticism amongst experts towards any aluminum-based power system. We have frequently encountered opposition to ABA Power due to misconceptions as to the nature of our solution. Many experts assume this is just another impractical aluminum-based power system, that is either too costly or too complex to succeed.

Q: What new venture, startup, or future trend are you most excited about (besides your own)?

A: The blockchain technology offers amazing opportunities - trust among unrelated parties with no need for a middleman. It could change the world of trade, contracts, lending, ownership records, etc.

Q: If you could draft your dream team of co-founders, present company excluded, who would be on it?

A: We are very happy with our current team and partners, we couldn't have wished for stronger and more capable partners than the ones we have!

Q: What are you most looking forward to for the Launch finals?

A: We are excited to take part in the event and get to meet and learn from the judges and other teams. There are many other exciting and amazing ventures in this competition.