The founders of clearflame engine technologies, a four-year-old start-up based in Geneva, Illinois, say they have found a way to clean up diesel engines. The company took part in techcrunch disrupt’s 2020 entrepreneurial battlefield competition and developed a new way to run diesel engines on renewable fuels such as ethanol. In a recent interview with techcrunch, BJ Johnson, co-founder and CEO of the company, said that the technology basically combines the performance advantages of diesel engine design with the low cost and low emissions of these alternative fuels. By replacing 100% of petroleum fuels with decarbonized fuels such as ethanol, clearflame says its technology can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% and reduce particulate matter and smoke (NOx) to near zero levels. < / P > < p > clearflame did not redesign the diesel engine. Instead, Johnson and co-founder and chief technology officer Julie blumreiter have developed a way to modify the engine’s internal components to change its thermodynamics to quickly ignite and burn decarbonized fuel. Johnson said the company’s technology means that 80% to 90% of diesel engine components remain unchanged. < / P > < p > Johnson told techcrunch that the result is a technology that provides a fast and low-cost way to reduce emissions. As local, state and national governments tighten emission regulations, companies may need this solution. The technology can be added to existing old diesel engines, or to new engines that have not been installed on trucks or used in other industrial applications. Johnson said clearflame’s goal is to work directly with engine manufacturers, which will still allow the company to enter the secondary market, as each OEM has its own aftermarket parts group. < / P > < p > “we want to take advantage of their supply chain, their ability to scale and access these markets, and their trustworthy names,” said Johnson, explaining why the company is targeting OEMs. < / P > < p > the technology was first developed in the Stanford University Laboratory, where blumreiter and Johnson received their doctorates. At Stanford, they focused on ethanol and methanol, a simple liquid alcohol. However, Johnson points out that further research has shown that the same concept is equally effective for natural gas and ammonia. < / P > < p > “the big difference here is that if you want to get rid of conventional ambient liquid fuel, you have to adjust the injection system,” Johnson said. “To be able to run an engine efficiently and cleanly on fuel in a glass under environmental conditions is what those alcohols do, and that’s a lot of commercial value.” < / P > < p > clearflame has made progress in its technology, including landing cooperation and fund-raising. The company completed a proof of concept demonstration of their technology on a caterpillar engine at Argonne National Laboratory. With funding from the Department of energy, clearflame also demonstrated on the Cummins engine platform. In April, clearflame announced that it had raised $3 million in a round of financing led by clean energy ventures. The company has also received several million dollars in grants, including small business innovation research awards from the National Science Foundation, the Department of energy and the U.S. Department of agriculture. Spontaneous combustion at a Guangzhou Motor vehicle intersection and other traffic lights in Shenzhen