ClearFlame Engine Technologies Sees Successful Test Results With Ethanol
By Chad Elmore15 October 2020
ClearFlame Engine Technologies, a start-up dedicated to the development of clean engine technology for the heavy-duty truck, off-highway and industrial markets, announced that it has matched the torque and power of a commercial diesel engine using ethanol in place of diesel fuel, delivering more than 500 hp and over 1850 ft lb. of torque without additional aftertreatment such as selective catalytic reduction or diesel particulate filter systems.
The company said it achieved these results on a Cummins X15, a 500 hp 15 L heavy-duty engine using the company’s high-temperature stochiometric combustion process, which leverages higher temperatures to achieve true diesel-style combustion of any decarbonized fuel. Temperatures are achieved by optimizing existing engine thermodynamics and adding insulation on key engine components. The fuel injection system is also engineered to accommodate decarbonized fuels such as ethanol.
“The results we’ve seen on the Cummins engine mark a critical milestone in the commercialization of ClearFlame’s technology,” said Dr. Julie Blumreiter, chief technology officer and co-founder of ClearFlame in Geneva, Ill. “Achieving these key targets without the use of complex aftertreatment systems helps diesel engine manufacturers to preserve their core engine technology requirements, driving a cost-effective, rapid-to-market solution that addresses evolving emissions regulations.”
ClearFlame said its engine technology enables low-carbon and carbon-negative fuels to be integrated into existing diesel engine platforms, offering a more sustainable and cost-effective solution than diesel fuel. It reportedly provides the same performance, efficiency, and rugged practicality associated with diesel engines, while eliminating the need for costly aftertreatment solutions. By replacing 100% of the petroleum fuel used with decarbonized fuels such as ethanol, ClearFlame’s engine technology can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter and smog, helping to meet stringent emissions regulations while reducing overall engine cost.
“The results from ClearFlame’s first commercial platform tests are extremely promising and demonstrate a real world, sustainable solution for diesel engine manufacturers as decarbonization requirements continue to evolve in the off-highway, heavy-duty and industrial sectors,” said Dr. BJ Johnson, CEO and co-founder of ClearFlame. “We look forward to advancing our technology with additional engine OEM partners, so we can highlight our low-cost benefits across a range of engine platforms and applications.”
Founded in 2016, ClearFlame secured a position in 2017 in the Chain Reaction Innovations program at Argonne National Laboratory, a two-year program for innovators focused on energy and science technologies. The program provided access to lab equipment and scientists as well as public research funding from the Department of Energy.