Demonstration of the First Heavy-Duty Truck, Driving on 100% Plant-Based Fuel.
ClearFlame Engine Technologies has successfully completed an ‘on-road’ demonstration of its proprietary technology that enables a heavy-duty truck diesel engine to operate on 100% renewable plant-based fuels. The validation of ClearFlame’s technology marks a critical milestone in the company’s objective to revolutionize carbon emissions within heavy-duty transportation, one of the most demanding sectors to electrify and decarbonize.
“This demonstration proves the workability of our technology that takes the dirty diesel fuel out of heavy-duty trucks,” said BJ Johnson, ClearFlame CEO and co-founder. “The transportation sector is currently the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Simply hoping that we get to net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 is not good enough. Suppose we want to get serious in the fight against climate change. In that case, we need more solutions that can enable swift decarbonization today, particularly for heavy-duty trucks, which are among the worst offenders.”
Julie Blumreiter, ClearFlame’s co-founder and chief technology officer noted, “Due to the incredible work and dedication of our engineering team we’ve taken a massive step in showing the world how our technology is a game-changer for decarbonization of the heavy-duty transportation sector. This vehicle is truly one-of-a-kind – the only Class 8 truck to run on 100% ethanol fuel without any additives and without any diesel fuel. Driving this vehicle today is actually less carbon intensive than a comparable electric-powered truck. The ClearFlame-enabled engine meets the performance and efficiency requirements customers expect from their diesel trucks, while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel costs.”
The demonstration of ClearFlame’s engine technology was implemented by taking a Class 8 diesel truck running on a Cummins X15 500hp 15L heavy-duty engine, commonly used for long-haul truck and off-highway applications, and converting it to run on renewable E98 ethanol. While the wide availability, cost-effectiveness, and lower ethanol emissions make it the fuel of choice today for the engine, ClearFlame’s technology is fuel agnostic and can run on a range of renewable fuels.
The trucks equipped with ClearFlame’s engine technology will reduce CO₂ emissions significantly, while lowering air quality emissions — particulate matter (soot) and Nitrogen Oxides (smog). As a result, ClearFlame has the potential to mitigate carbon in the heavy-duty truck sector faster than any alternative, including hydrogen and battery EV, without compromising engine performance. Diesel engines release billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, and projections suggest that even with a growing number of alternatives, only 25% of new heavy-duty trucks in 2035 will be zero emissions, which means the remaining 75% will overwhelmingly rely on fossil fuel — unless other alternatives are developed.
ClearFlame’s say its technology can be used anywhere diesel engines are used today, as it leverages existing infrastructure — fuel production and distribution, engine manufacturing and remanufacturing processes, and the heavy-duty parts & services industry. The company is currently focused on heavy-duty markets that don’t have sufficient alternatives to liquid combustion.
The company says it will continue testing its trucks under various operating conditions throughout Q1 2022, with customer beta testing underway by the end of 2022. In addition to long-haul trucking, the technology enables emissions reduction for hard-to-electrify applications in a wide range of industries, including agriculture, power generation, and other off-highway markets. ClearFlame is also working with John Deere on a pilot demonstration project for an off-highway engine platform, demonstrating the versatility of the company’s technology as a retrofit option or original equipment integration.