Decarbonizing the trucking industry

In the wake of the recent oil shortage and unpredictable fuel prices, some people in the trucking industry have been exploring other fuel sources. ClearFlame Technologies just announced partnerships with two engine companies to further this exploration and advancement, as reported by Overdrive.

In ClearFlame’s mission to take “diesel fuel out of diesel engines” the company has partnered with Reviva, engine manufacturer and assembler, and Vander Haag, engine installer. ClearFlame is attempting to refresh the truck engine market by taking diesel out of the fuel equation.

The company was created by BJ Johnson and Julie Blumreiter, who studied at Stanford University and created the engine platform during their time as undergraduates. Observing other entrants attempting to introduce cost stability by decarbonizing battery electric vehicles drew the pair to brainstorming their own solution, Johnson said.

“EVs and hydrogen [fuel cell] have been the talk in trucking for a while now,” Johnson said. “I think we’re starting to see that where EVs work, they tend to work pretty well. But we’re also starting to see where they don’t work.”

Johnson and Blumreiter want to create and introduce a decarbonization solution to the market that isn’t layered over with a “green premium,” Johnson said. ClearFlame puts priority on duty cycles like long-haul applications to accomplish this goal.

Johnson shared the details of how the technology works. Ten to 15% of elements from a conventional diesel internal combustion engine are removed and replaced. From there, ClearFlame can create an engine that can be powered by ethanol, methanol, and other natural gases. By avoiding the usage of fossil fuels, ClearFlame reduces emissions while maintaining a high-level of performance, all at a low cost.

“We are maintaining what is good about the diesel-powered truck without the emissions that come from diesel,” Johnson said.

So far, consumer reviews of the technology have been coming back as positive.

Customer demonstrations began in June of this year. ClearFlame is hopeful to obtain Environmental Protection Agency approval in 2023. This could poise ClearFlame to start implementing the decarbonization equipment into trucks in 2024.

Johnson hopes that, if the company is successful, “OEMs will see the market signal that decarbonized fuels are a pathway to a sustainable future.”