ClearFlame Engine Technologies, a company developing net-zero engine technology (earlier post), has hit a number of key milestones through multiple partnerships with customers, manufacturers, and fuel providers. These achievements highlight the company’s ability to leverage existing infrastructure within the transportation sector, giving it a clear advantage to scale quickly and move to commercialization.
These announcements include:
Signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with Reviva and Vander Haag’s, Inc. and their successful integration of ClearFlame’s technology into a Class-8 truck, validating the ability to seamlessly bring ClearFlame’s technology to scale using existing transportation solution providers and supply chains.
The commencement of ClearFlame’s first pilot fleet trial with Beck’s, highlighting strong interest from commercial fleets.
The first retail sale of E98 ethanol fuel, with CIE (Central Indiana Ethanol), CountryMark, and Co-Alliance Cooperative Inc. acting as fueling partners for Beck’s, capitalizing on an existing network for the national distribution of ethanol.
As these cross-industry partnerships indicate, 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. This is critical, particularly in industries like heavy-duty transportation. 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—saving fleets money, without any green premium.
The speed and agility with which the Indiana ethanol fuel coalition was able to come together to provide E98 fuel to our truck with Beck’s goes even further to underscore how easy it will be for ClearFlame’s technology to rapidly scale for fleets across the country. Ethanol is already distributed through fuel terminals nationwide. In addition to being widely available, it’s proven to be a much greener fuel, with substantially lower carbon emissions than diesel, and significant cost savings.—BJ Johnson, ClearFlame co-founder and CEO
As part of ClearFlame’s agreements for engine modification, Minneapolis-based Reviva has been named ClearFlame’s initial engine remanufacturing partner, responsible for integrating ClearFlame’s kit into existing Cummins X15 engines; engines will carry a two-year warranty.
Reviva has been providing quality remanufactured engines and engine components for more than 70 years. Reviva is the largest privately held diesel engine remanufacturer in North America and its engines are available at most aftermarket truck component suppliers and large truck dealers in the USA and Canada.
Vander Haag’s, Inc., with nine locations throughout the Midwest, will serve as the vehicle integrator, reinstalling the ClearFlame engines into Class-8 trucks. In addition to being the vehicle integrator, Vander Haag’s, Inc. will also leverage their parts distribution network to provide components for the initial integration as well as ongoing parts support.
Beck’s, the largest family-owned retail seed company in the United States and third-largest seed brand, represents ClearFlame’s first official pilot. During the pilot, the truck is accumulating miles and driving long distances in a range of operating conditions, as well as short haul routes between the company’s Indiana locations, with a variety of different load types. Several other pilots with other companies are also planned through the end of the year.
ClearFlame expects to achieve commercialization of its engine modification technology by the end of 2023. The company is currently working with the EPA to achieve all environmental approvals; trucks are currently running under EPA exemption.
While ClearFlame’s technology is fuel-agnostic and can run on any clean fuel, its current engines run on ethanol, which is widely available across the United States as a blend component, but is not currently for sale. In order to provide E98 to the ClearFlame-modified truck with Beck’s, a group of Indiana fuel providers came together, creating the first coalition enabling the use of ethanol as a truck fuel. These included Central Indiana Ethanol (as manufacturer), CountryMark (as distributor), and Co-Alliance Cooperative Inc. (as fuel retailer).
As previously announced, an independent study conducted by Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA), demonstrated that ClearFlame’s technology lowers total costs while meeting sustainability goals sooner than currently available alternatives.
ClearFlame-enabled trucks are expected to have the lowest TCO when compared with diesel, natural gas, electric, and hydrogen platforms.
ClearFlame’s cost per mile is expected to be substantially lower than electric and hydrogen platforms—40% less than electric and 30% less than hydrogen.
ClearFlame can provide a quick and cost-effective path to substantial reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) and tailpipe emissions compared to other sustainable fuels and technologies, whose practical challenges, such as cost, range, infrastructure, and fuel availability, have slowed adoption.
ClearFlame is estimated to provide a 42% lifecycle carbon reduction compared with diesel, as well as approximately 22% lower GHG than battery electric vehicles based on the national average grid mix.
ClearFlame’s solution elevates combustion temperatures in order to enable use of non-traditional fuels that fail to ignite using conventional diesel-style MCCI (mixing-controlled compression ignition) without sacrificing performance.
In a high-temperature environment, any fuel will behave like diesel fuel, having short ignition delay and burning as it is injected in a mixing fuel plume. Low-sooting fuels allow for the elimination of diesel particulate filtration (DPF). Use of soot-free “Clear” Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) can allow for lower NOx emissions without the competing soot constraint, meeting next-generation emissions standards without added aftertreatment complexity.