The following is a contributed article from a content partner of Benzinga
Nanotechnology startup FuelGems, which manufactures a fuel additive that reduces harmful greenhouse gases, has raised $895,000 via crowdfunding platform Wefunder.
The Texas-based company, which is also backed by venture capital fund Sputnik ATX, says its flagship non-chemical fuel additive makes gasoline and diesel burn much more efficiently, substantially reducing exhaust pollutants and unburnt hydrocarbons. A collective of investors would appear to agree, with over 1,200 contributing to the open funding round.
“As we transition to greener solutions that will eliminate or lessen the use of gasoline, we should endeavor to reduce the negative impacts petroleum has on us and the environment,” said one investor, Bernard Ernst Heinz Hackh.
A Friendlier Form of Fuel
Established in 2015 by a team of PhD scientists and engineers, FuelGems is looking to sell the patented additive wholesale to gas station operators, transportation companies, refineries and end users worldwide. It could also be used to introduce sustainable efficiencies in the supply chain, with the product said to be priced 5-20 times lower than alternatives.
According to FuelGems CEO Kirill Gichunts, FuelGems is at the pilot and pre-pilot stage with several of the world’s best-known oil and gas companies, including BP (BP.L) and Marubeni Corporation (MARUY). The startup is also in dialogue with the Australian government’s Department of Defence.
FuelGems’ clean fuel additive, the product of five years’ research and development, is composed of carbon-based nanoparticles. The environmentally-friendly additive is said to reduce fuel consumption by up to 8%, while cutting unburnt hydrocarbons by up to 50% and carbon monoxide by 15%. Carcinogenic particulate matter is also reduced, with FuelGems placing user ROI at up to 1,000%. Only 1-5g of the additive is needed for 260 gallons of fuel, at a cost of 2 cents per gallon of gasoline.
With the global fuel market currently valued at $3.5 trillion, vehicle fuel economy improvements could save drivers an estimated $2 trillion by 2025 according to the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI). FuelGems expects to generate $400 million in annual revenue by year six, and Gichunts believes widespread adoption in the fuel market could engender annual savings of $350 billion.
Given that oil refineries around the world are under pressure to cut diesel sulphur levels to meet environmental targets, and the pandemic is squeezing company margins, such savings are likely to be roundly welcomed.
Combating Air Pollution via Clean Fuel, AI and Blockchain
While the project is aimed primarily at improving fuel economy, increasing engine/fuel pump life and decreasing environmental damage, FuelGems and products like it could help to lessen the public health burden associated with air pollution. Every year, millions of people die prematurely due to vehicle exhaust emissions, with diesel vehicles the worst offenders. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits for pollutant levels, with low- and middle-income countries experiencing the highest exposure.
There is likely to be a renewed focus on sustainability in the coming years, after incoming President Joe Biden sought to reinstate the US to the Paris climate agreement within hours of being sworn in. The new President will soon convene an international climate summit with the goal of further accelerating emissions cuts. Over 100 countries have committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, including Japan, France and the United Kingdom. China, the world’s largest emitter, aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
Many governments and companies are turning to technological solutions such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and blockchain in their efforts to tackle global warming. In November, a survey of 800 sustainability and tech executives from 400 organizations showed that almost half (48%) had implemented AI for this purpose, achieving a 12.9% reduction in emissions and improving power efficiency by 10.9%.
A green renewables project called NVZN Token, meanwhile, enables waste life-cycling and carbon reduction via an immutable public blockchain ledger. Fashion brand Covalent has also confirmed that it will use IBM’s blockchain stack to let consumers track the carbon footprint and supply chain of its products. A surge of corporate money has also gone into carbon dioxide air extraction, which involves huge fans pulling and trapping gas from the air, then injecting it underground.
If FuelGems can convince the likes of BP and Marubeni of its product’s efficacy and cost savings, it stands to make a significant contribution to carbon reduction in the global fuel market.
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