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ClearFlame Engine raises $3 million

ClearFlame Engine Technologies, the developer of a new clean combustion engine technology, announced today the closing of a $3 million financing round.

Clean Energy Ventures led the round with participation from several other investors. The funding will allow ClearFlame to accelerate demonstrations of its engine technology. ClearFlame recently completed a proof-of-concept demonstration of their technology on a Caterpillar engine at Argonne National Laboratory and is preparing for a commercial prototype demonstration on a Cummins 15L engine.

ClearFlame’s engine technology easily integrates into existing engine platforms, allowing it to retain the same high torque, fuel efficiency and durability benefits currently associated with diesel engines while eliminating the need for expensive after-treatment installations such as Selective Catalytic Reduction systems.

“Freight transportation and other heavy-duty industries have demanding performance requirements for their engines and tight weight restrictions that make electrification largely impractical,” said BJ Johnson, CEO and co-founder of ClearFlame in an announcement. “We’ve partnered closely with both the public and private sector to develop a combustion engine technology that easily drops into any OEM’s existing diesel engine manufacturing process and distribution supply chain and achieves better carbon mitigation levels than other diesel fuel alternatives like fuel cells. Our technology is designed specifically to serve these heavy-duty and industrial markets and can dramatically and expeditiously reduce emissions.”

The $3M in funding will support ClearFlame as it prepares its technology for pilot demonstrations in the transportation and power generation sectors. The company plans to develop and expand strategic partnerships with OEMs.

ClearFlame Engines has previously received over $2M in non-dilutive grant funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the Midwest Energy Research Consortium and Stanford University.

Previous coverage

Ag Startup Engine invests in ClearFlame Engines -Jan. 31, 2019

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ClearFlame Engine raises $3 million | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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