Fortune Magazine recently showcased how investors are taking note of ClearFlame’s decarbonization technology, which equips diesel engines to run on 100% renewable fuels. The article highlights how, in October 2021, ClearFlame raised $17 million in Series A funding in a round led by Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures and including agriculture titan, John Deere.
In the article, journalist Ian Mount explains that ClearFlame seeks to decouple the heavy-duty diesel engine from its environmental challenges since the high emissions from diesel engines actually come from the fossil fuels they have long run on. But ClearFlame changes that paradigm, and it could help industries from trucking to power generation slash carbon emissions.
Mount cites how an independent study revealed that a truck outfitted with ClearFlame’s technology and running on ethanol could cut CO2 emissions by 42% on average compared to traditional diesel.
In the article, ClearFlame cofounders Julie Blumreiter and B.J. Johnson, who originally met as mechanical engineering Ph.D. students at Stanford, explain how they cracked the code to modify diesel engines to run on renewable fuels after relocating to Argonne National Laboratory in the Chicago area.
Through the Chain Reaction Innovations fellowship, they were a part of, B.J. and Julie had the support and time they needed to pressure test their technology and prove that it would work.
“We changed some of the air and exhaust plumbing in the engine to basically let the air and exhaust come hotter into the engine than it would have otherwise,” Johnson explained to Fortune. “And then we changed the fuel injection systems to be compatible with these lower carbon fuels, which usually means engineering for lower viscosity.”
While some have critiques of ethanol, Kyle Teamey, a team lead for ClearFlame investor Breakthrough Energy, clarified the investor’s stance to Fortune.
“We’re not looking to get into a fight over how best to use crop lands,” Teamey said. “We’re looking to the next phase of the evolution of the market.”
Fortune also highlighted that the mix of low-carbon fuels in a ClearFlame engine “emits 23% less carbon than battery EVs” and “99% less soot particulate emissions.”
Read the story on Fortune.