Our engine technology uses a high-temperature combustion environment to enable a heavy-duty engine to achieve highly-efficient, stoichiometric, direct-injected combustion of non-petroleum, soot-free fuels. This gives our technology three key benefits in the heavy-duty engine market, a sector that relies on liquid fuels due to their superior energy density (relative to gaseous fuels or batteries). First, we are “fuel agnostic,” not relying on petroleum-based fuels, but instead utilizing the low-cost, low...
Our engine technology uses a high-temperature combustion environment to enable a heavy-duty engine to achieve highly-efficient, stoichiometric, direct-injected combustion of non-petroleum, soot-free fuels. This gives our technology three key benefits in the heavy-duty engine market, a sector that relies on liquid fuels due to their superior energy density (relative to gaseous fuels or batteries). First, we are “fuel agnostic,” not relying on petroleum-based fuels, but instead utilizing the low-cost, low-carbon, renewable fuels of the future, insulating vehicle operating costs from petroleum price volatility. Second, we are able to achieve 5% higher efficiency at 30% higher power density compared to traditional Diesel engines, and have an even greater advantage in efficiency and power output over natural-gas-fueled engines (the leading Diesel alternative). Third, we produce 100x less soot than Diesel engines, while achieving stoichiometric conditions, enabling the use of simple and inexpensive three-way-catalysis to meet all gas-phase emissions regulations. These three benefits allow our technology to reduce fuel costs relative to Diesel engines, while also meeting the present and future emissions standards that threaten to push Diesel out of the market.
We will initially deploy this technology in agriculture applications, reducing that sector’s dependence on (and challenge with) Diesel fuel. This deployment can be extended to provide power generation units for regions with cheap alternative fuels. Eventually, we will expand to transportation, targeting drivers and fleet owners who are adaptable to centralized refueling with alternative feedstocks. We will supply these initial units as engine retrofits. However, we intend to earn the majority of our revenue through licensing arrangements with established manufacturers. We plan to attract these companies with our combination of reduced fuels costs and ease of meeting tightening emissions regulations.
ClearFlame Engines is part of the first cohort of the Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) program at Argonne National Lab. They were chosen for the program because of their strong academic background, solid business model for their start-up, and the potential of their heavy-duty engine technology to be disruptive and transformational in both the distributed energy generation and heavy-duty transportation sectors. Their technology could displace Diesel engines wherever they are used, including in marine applications, where ClearFlame’s clean-burning, renewably-fueled engine could help decrease the climate impact of ocean-based transportation, providing a new solution for a sector that is trying to reduce its emissions. The financial support from CRI, along with grants from the NSF and Stanford, is helping ClearFlame transition their exciting proof-of-concept experimental data to a commercial prototype. We look forward to continuing to work with them.
The “net zero carbon fuel” diesel engine technology that ClearFlame Engines is developing could be a disruptive platform that significantly reduces global CO2 emissions. Many application segments are available to them and offer up very interesting possibilities as far as alternative fuel sources are concerned. For example, the marine applications that they are targeting are particularly interesting since they could be compatible with island based bio-fuel sources. They have obtained early technology validation of their concept and are developing credible manufacturing pathways and business and partnership models. This validates the very positive early reviews of their project that resulted in them winning a very competitive TomKat Innovation Grant. I believe that Julie and Bernard have the requisite skills and expertise to create what could be a significant enhancement to the global stationary generation and transportation industries.