The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the typical passenger vehicle in the United States produces 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year. Burning a single gallon of gasoline produces nearly 20 pounds of this harmful substance.
With over 276 million vehicles registered in the United States, those emissions add up quickly, resulting in widespread pollution that is believed to be a major force behind global warming and poor air quality in cities across the country.
While the COVID-19 pandemic’s acceleration of work from home trends has helped reduce the number of commuters, millions continue to hit the road each day. Fortunately, new technology advances such as FuelGems aim to curb vehicle pollution like never before.
Thanks to his company’s innovative fuel additive, Kirill Gichunts, CEO of FuelGems, is confident that great change is possible in the industry.
What Is FuelGems?
“FuelGems is a unique fuel additive that relies on nanotechnology to reduce the use of gas and diesel,” Gichunts explains. “But more importantly, this additive is also designed to reduce harmful vehicle emissions. There are a lot of fuel additives in use by companies like Chevron or Shell, but these generally only provide engine cleaning. While that can be useful for vehicle maintenance, it doesn’t have a meaningful impact on drivers’ wallet — or the environment.”
The FuelGems additive was tested over several years in both laboratory and real-world settings. And while the additive offers increased lubrication to improve engine and fuel pump life, it also goes a step further by reducing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions.
“One of the main issues that we aim to address with our additive is fuel oxidation,” Gichunts notes. “At lower temperatures, our additive decreases oxidation keeping gasoline and diesel fresher, while at higher temperatures, our additive increases oxidation improving combustions and resulting in lower emissions and increased performance.”
Direct, Measurable Results
FuelGems’ claims of lowering emissions and gas consumption are more than just talking points. In its testing, the company found that its additive reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 9 percent, while also reducing carbon monoxide emissions by 15 percent and soot by 6 percent. As Gichunts notes, however, these often-publicized gases aren’t the only issue addressed by the additive:
“While CO2 emissions get a lot of attention as the number-one greenhouse gas, these are far from the only harmful emissions that get released into the atmosphere when you drive. Unburnt hydrocarbons are also significant contributors to air pollution, and have even been found to be cancerous. FuelGems also reduces unburnt hydrocarbons by as much as 50 percent, further reducing the environmental harm that can come from our everyday driving.”
Particulate matter and unburnt hydrocarbons found in vehicle emissions are known carcinogens that have been linked to lung cancer in individuals who have been exposed to high levels of the contaminants.
Testing also revealed that the company’s additive lowered fuel consumption by nine percent — a stat that is sure to please drivers worried about ever-fluctuating prices at the pump.
A High-Efficiency Additive
While the FuelGems additive’s ability to reduce emissions is noteworthy in and of itself, another stunning innovation stemming from the nanotechnology development is just how little of the additive is required to achieve these results.
“A tiny amount of our additive is all that is needed,” Gichunts says.
“One to five grams of the additive is enough to treat a full 260 gallons of fuel. That’s a concentration 500 times less than other diesel additives like Cetane improver. And because a little goes a long way, our additive is ultimately more affordable than other options. You’d only see a price increase of two cents per gallon — which for drivers, ultimately pays for itself because they won’t be filling up at the pump as frequently.”
Because the nanoparticles dissolve in gasoline and other solvents, the additive can easily be added at any stage of the process that gets fuel from refineries to drivers’ vehicles. The additive could be incorporated during a refinery’s refining process, placed in fuel storage tanks at gas stations or simply added to the fuel tank when filling up a car.
Though the additive could be dissolved in fuel at any point, Gichunts hopes his company can make its biggest impact at the refinery level. By improving fuel quality long before it reaches drivers, there is more widespread potential for reducing emissions and bettering driver outcomes.
Paving the Way for the Future
Gichunts is willing to acknowledge that ultimately (once electricity sources move away from coal and methane and become truly clean), electric vehicles are going to be perceived as the best solution for cutting vehicle-related emissions. However, that doesn’t put a damper on the potential for his additive — or the enthusiasm the company has gained from early investors.
“We’re seeing more and more manufacturers making a push toward electric vehicle production. But we’re still many years out before they become the majority of vehicles manufactured. Since about 60 percent of electricity that powers electric cars comes from coal and methane (natural gas), electric cars are not that much cleaner than gasoline- and diesel-powered cars.”
Continues Gichunts, “It will likely be even longer before the majority of electricity comes from clean sources and before the majority of drivers are willing to adopt electric vehicles. We need to do something about fuel-based emissions now. By cutting emissions now, we can ensure a healthier future for everyone.”
While the exact future of how the automotive industry will address vehicle emissions is uncertain, FuelGems highlights that there are trucks, planes, trains and ships which will be hard to power with electricity and that there are plenty of innovative solutions ready to make a meaningful difference now.