A startup is attempting to retrofit diesel engines to make them more environmentally friendly.
- ClearFlame Engine Technologies was founded in Geneva, Illinois, in 2016 by Julie Blumreiter and B.J. Johnson to retrofit diesel engines and make them more sustainable.
- “What we set out to do as a company was to decouple the economic value of the diesel engine from its environmental challenges, which are not associated with the engine, but are actually challenges with the fact that the engine currently requires petroleum diesel fuel,” says Johnson.
- Since its founding, ClearFlame has modified diesel engines to enable them to run on low-carbon fuels, reports Fortune.
- ClearFlame claims their engines reduce emissions by 42% and even have 23% less of a carbon footprint than electric vehicles, which require energy produced by a fossil fuel energy grid.
- One outside study found their retrofitted engines cost eight cents less per mile than before.
Why it’s important
Trucking represents 30% of automotive carbon emissions, which represents 21% of total carbon emissions. ClearFlame is hoping it can help forward the effort to reduce those emissions.
“Trucking needs to be decarbonized—that much is not up for debate. About a quarter of worldwide CO2 emissions are attributable to transportation… [Trucking] has so far failed to electrify itself. Electric trucks have made inroads in short to medium distances, but they haven’t done so for longer (over 100 mile) trips that account for 70% of U.S. freight,” says Fortune.
As we previously reported, fossil fuels are going to remain a vital part of the economy for the coming decades until the full transition to emissions-free energy is possible. In the meantime, opportunities for low-carbon alternatives are lucrative.
The company announced on September 20 that it has signed agreements with Reviva and Vander Haags to integrate their technology into Class-8 trucks. This was on top of receiving $17 million in funding from a Bill Gates-backed energy venture company and from John Deere.
“Our innovative technology for the decarbonization of heavy-duty engines can be effectively integrated and quickly scaled across the United States in the short term—not years from now… By leveraging an already existing eco-system and infrastructure, ClearFlame’s solution not only gets us to our climate goals faster but can do so less expensively,” says Johnson.