ClearFlame Engines is developing an alternatively-fueled, drop-in-ready engine for the $240B (growing 60% by 2030) heavy-duty market, which includes marine, agriculture, transportation, power generation, rail, and construction applications. The ClearFlame engine affords massive carbon mitigation while providing markedly better performance. It reduces fuel costs by 34% and 20% relative to Diesel and compressed-natural-gas engines respectively, while also reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40%.

Our engine technology uses a high-temperature environment to enable heavy-duty engines to achieve highly-efficient combustion of non-petroleum, soot-free fuels. This gives our technology three key benefits in heavy-duty engine markets, which include many sectors that rely 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 fu...
ClearFlame Engines is developing an alternatively-fueled, drop-in-ready engine for the $240B (growing 60% by 2030) heavy-duty market, which includes marine, agriculture, transportation, power generation, rail, and construction applications. The ClearFlame engine affords massive carbon mitigation while providing markedly better performance. It reduces fuel costs by 34% and 20% relative to Diesel and compressed-natural-gas engines respectively, while also reducing CO2 emissions by at least 40%.

Our engine technology uses a high-temperature environment to enable heavy-duty engines to achieve highly-efficient combustion of non-petroleum, soot-free fuels. This gives our technology three key benefits in heavy-duty engine markets, which include many sectors that rely 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 user 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, so we provide high torque and reduced fuel costs to the user. Third, we produce 100x less soot than Diesel engines, while also integrating simple and inexpensive three-way-catalysis to meet all gas-phase emissions regulations (this enables an order of magnitude reduction in both emissions and system hardware cost). 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, all without loss of engine performance.

We will initially deploy this technology in power generation units for regions with low-cost alternative fuels, and on board vehicles/vessels (like locomotives, nearshore vessels, and hybrid vehicles) that also use generator-style engines. Eventually, we will expand to transportation, targeting drivers and fleet owners who can use centralized refueling to obtain access to the most economically-viable or environmentally-friendly alternative fuels. We will supply these initial units as engine retrofits. However, we intend to earn the majority of our revenue through licensing arrangements and joint ventures with established manufacturers and we have ongoing discussions with potential partners.
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John Carlisle NUvention: Advanced Materials Advisory Board Member and Mentor at Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

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.

Brian Bartholomeusz

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.