Photo: ClearFlame
Clear Flame Ethanol Remanufacture Engine

ClearFlame hits milestones to produce clean-engine tech at scale

Sept. 26, 2022
The Illinois-based clean-engine startup recently achieved partnerships with several organizations to facilitate the commercialization of their technology.

As fleets across the country are turning towards decarbonizing their assets, ClearFlame Engine Technologies, a clean-engine technologies startup, has recently met three benchmarks in commercializing their diesel engine-remanufacturing process at scale: The company is remanufacturing existing engines for Class-8 trucks into those that can run on ethanol, testing a pilot fleet, and brokered a deal for the retail sale of the ethanol fuel necessary to run their pilot.

While ClearFlame worked with Jacobs Vehicle Systems last year to replace petroleum fuel with ethanol for the Jacob Vehicle’s Cylinder Deactivation systems, they are now working with multiple providers and OEM’s to further integrate their own technology at large.

Their first milestone was to sign Memorandums of Understanding with Reviva and Vander Haag’s, Inc., stating that the three organizations would work together to integrate ClearFlame’s engine technology into Class-8 trucks. In this agreement, the Minneapolis-based Reviva will serve as the initial engine remanufacturer, incorporating ClearFlame’s package into pre-made Cummins X15 engines. These altered engines will carry a two-year warranty. Meanwhile, Vander Haag’s, Inc., will be the project’s official vehicle integrator, taking the ClearFlame Cummins engines and reinstalling them into Class-8 vehicles. As well as this, Vander Haag’s, Inc. will also provide support via components and parts availability.

“Our partnerships with Reviva and Vander Haag’s, Inc. demonstrate that we can move extremely quickly to seamlessly capitalize upon the existing ecosystem of engine remanufacturers and more than 250,000 mechanics who already service diesel engines today in the U.S. with no need for additional infrastructure investment, special tools, or complicated training,” said Julie Blumreiter, ClearFlame co-founder and chief technology officer.

Meanwhile, ClearFlame has also partnered with Beck’s Hybrids, a mid-western seed company, to test their first pilot truck. During this period, a ClearFlame engine outfitted for ethanol consumption instead of petroleum will be testing the vehicle’s viability across both long distances and shorter routes throughout Indiana. The vehicle will also carry a variety of load types and experience multiple operating conditions, creating a benchmark for the technology’s capabilities going forward. After their test with Beck’s, ClearFlame intends to hold pilots with several other companies throughout the rest of the year. Should these tests be a success, ClearFlame is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to receive all necessary approvals, until which time their pilots will function under an EPA exemption.

However, for Beck’s to host their pilot truck, ClearFlame needed to find a way to make their ethanol fuel, E98, available across the state. While ethanol itself is available throughout the U.S. as a blend component, it is not actively for sale.  To remedy this, ClearFlame was able to make a deal with several Indiana fuel providers to increase the fuel’s availability. Among this coalition were Central Indiana Ethanol, who will manufacture E98; CountryMark, who will be on distribution; and Co-Alliance Cooperative Inc., who will retail the fuel.

“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,” said BJ Johnson, ClearFlame co-founder and CEO.

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